Are We “E”-Overwhelmed?, Do We Participate in Readalongs?, & Other Life and Death Questions

follow me A0a4PNJCUAA-OQFLory’s enjoyable post at Emerald City Book Review, “How do You Follow Other Blogs?”, made me realize that I don’t.   I am “e”-Overwhelmed by notifications of online book group schedules, catalogue sales,  Yahoo book group digests, alerts for newsletters, Goodreads author alerts, Twitter alerts (but I don’t have a Twitter account!), and links to dismaying  articles at my favorite “liberal” publications knocking even the Democrats off the pedestal (please don’t!), and political organizations demanding money. (I gave to Bernie.)

Anyway, I’m too muddled to pay much attention to “follow” notifications, but I do read blogs.  I have bookmarked at least a zillion.

Is anyone else in the e-Overwhelmed category?

2. How about readalongs?  I am happy to say that I have read and written about two books for the All Virago/All August event,  Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights (here) and Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins (here). (Karen of Kaggysbookishramblings let me know about the Virago edition of Eight Cousins.)  Naturally I have American editions, but I love the Viragos.  Here are the Virago covers beside my NYRB and LOA editions!

3. Are you better than other people because you read literary fiction? Yes. I learned all about it in Alison Flood’s article, “Literary Fiction Readers Understand Others’ Emotions Better Study Finds,”  at The Guardian.  It seems that David Kidd and Emanuele Castano at the New School for Social Research in New York did a study of 1,000 participants and found that readers of literary fiction understand other people’s emotions better than others  (and pop fiction does not improve our understanding).    Although I love to read classics and literary fiction (and pop), I find that, though I may understand the emotions of Henry James’ characters , I do not understand human beings’ emotions at all!  And my best friend shattered me when she said of Henry James, “There may have been people like that once, but there aren’t any more.”  Oh my goodness, and I love Isabel Archer!

4. Is there enough “Cli-Fi” to read in this year of new record global temperatures?  Science fiction writer Paul di Fillipo at The Barnes and Noble Review says yes.

Earlier this summer — in a year marked by new record global temperatures — I toured some of the more exotic, outré, and far-fetched works of “Anthropocene fiction” that envisioned how humanity might imprint its often lethal image onto our home planet — even distorting other planets and the whole cosmos at large. After such visions as entire worlds clad in steel, and a solar system whose components were juggled about and reprocessed, the simple notion of Greenhouse Earth — the scenario where an unintentional and relatively tiny incremental change in average world temperature brings vast environmental and geophysical disasters and sociopolitical and cultural disruption and mass mortality — is now hardly science-fictional at all. Climate change is indeed the stuff of daily headlines, to an extent than when we encounter a recent front-page feature in The New York Times reporting on “climate refugees” in the USA and South America, the pairing of those two terms requires little in the way of explanation.

He recommends several novels and new anthologies.

What have we done to our beautiful planet, turned into a hell of our own making?

6 thoughts on “Are We “E”-Overwhelmed?, Do We Participate in Readalongs?, & Other Life and Death Questions

  1. I find myself e-overwhelmed most days, when I wake up to an inbox of interesting blog posts and more books to go on the wishlist! It’s nice to follow these things, but I’ve learned not to take on too many challenges because I can’t cope. I used to want to join in with everything but now I limit myself and if I happen to fall in with something that’s taking place it’s fine but I don’t beat myself up about it.

    As for the climate – you remind me I really must read The Silent Spring. I despair for our planet on a daily basis.

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  2. I went through a phase of being e-overwhelmed but have recently tried to shift some priorities to make more time (after cutting back dramatically) for online bookishness and I much prefer this new approach which is aiming for a little of everything (and perhaps not as much as I’d once hoped for or aimed for). Maybe I’ll even start to participate in some group readings and readalongs again, although recently I have rediscovered the library and that has given my 2016 reading plans a good shake! Good luck with your long list of online reading!

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    • I belong to so many book groups: but quite often they’re reading books I’ve read and then I can make a breezy remark or two and keep reading what I’m reading without adding a thing. Oh, the library is a wonderful invention: thank God we’ve still got them!

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  3. I too have learned to limit my active participation in listservs (yes I still do a couple of those), with other blogs, for websites. I’ve only committed a couple of times to write with others for (in effect) blog rings because I find it impossible to read whole books in order this way; if I’ve read a book already or books of a certain type I can produce blogs with others. I also haven’t got a group tone, and especially can’t produce because I can’t even read the semi-snark of recaps. I can’t just enthuse; I want to have the “meat” of what the book is deeply about. But I read blogs by friends and congenial souls: also postings on listservs, and once in a long while there is even one on face-book. These are my support system.

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    • Well, you are so busy running very good listservs! And very good ones: They’re like no one else’s. It’s hard to keep up with anybody else’s reading unless you’re in school somehow. This month I did happen to do a couple: I’m amazed!

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