What's a Common Reader -- and what is Uncommon Reading?

Virginia Woolf defined a common reader as someone who is not a scholar; not a critic. A common reader "reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others. Above all, he is guided by an instinct to create for himself, out of whatever odds and ends he can come by, some kind of whole." By that definition, I'm definitely a common reader -- reading an uncommonly large and diverse collection of books.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Added to My Shelves:

A select listing of the books that I've added to my shelves while I've been on "hiatus". I'll be reading some of these and reviewing some of them in the coming weeks -- assuming the book gods are smiling on me!

  • Catherine the Great by Robert Massie (Amazon Vine)
  • Hand Me Down World by Lloyd Jones (Library)
  • The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker (Amazon UK purchase)
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (Amazon Vine)
  • The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg (Amazon Vine)
  • Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich (Library)
  • The Cloud Messenger by Aamer Hussein (LibraryThing Early Reviewer)
  • Reprobates: the Cavaliers of the English Civil War by John Stubbs (purchased for Kindle)
  • The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (Library)
  • Misterioso by Arne Dahl (Amazon Vine)
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Amazon UK purchase)
  • Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet (purchased for Kindle)
  • Eminence: Cardinal Richelieu and the rise of France by Jean-Vincent Blanchard (Library)
  • Winter by Adam Gopnik (Massey Lectures) (Purchase)
  • Rez Life by Peter Treuer (NetGalley)
  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt (purchased for Kindle)
  • Between Two Seas by Carmine Abate (Library)
  • The Retribution by Val McDermid (NetGalley)
  • The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak (Amazon Vine)
  • The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness (Amazon UK purchase)
  • Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar (NetGalley)
I think what I need is, as Virginia Woolf once said, a room of my own and a stipend -- perhaps a bit more than 500 pounds per annum, however... -- if I'm to stand a chance of making a dent in my TBR mountain!


  1. I'll never understand why we can purchase physical books from Amazon UK (Barnes and McGuinness) but not Kindle books until they're out here. I want to read both of those very much, but maybe not enough to order them from across an ocean. (Let us know how they are!)

  2. It makes me crazy too, Jenny. It has something to do with rights -- that the publisher can't market something to a region of the world where it doesn't have the right to sell the physical e-book. In the case of Barnes, it makes a kind of sense. Jonathan Cape published that in the US; Knopf has the US rights. So enabling a US customer to buy electronically before Knopf publishes would be depriving the latter of part of its market. But McGuinness? I don't understand that one, as so far the author doesn't seem to have a US publisher or distributor! And you're right about there being essentially no difference between ordering a physical copy and an e-copy, but there must be a legal reason. In fact, now that you've prompted me to look at this, I'm going to touch base with a few publishers and ask them to explain this anomaly... One that is costing me surreal amounts of postage and shelf space!