The experience of joining a social media site — or whatever we’re supposed to call them, I don’t really care — is enhanced by how you interact with the other denizens of the site. I’m not that good at this aspect: meeting strangers via the internet and keeping up a conversation with them. I’m much better and meeting people in person, and then drawing that out later into long-distance conversation.
OK, I like to read. I have an account on LibraryThing, which heretofore I’ve only used as a database for my personal library, passively hoping that someone would come along and see it, connect with me. Passive, i.e., lazy. So I’ll try this. I’ve joined a few groups this morning:
- Beat-itific. I’m not a die-hard Beat fan — a lot of it is junk — but some of it is pretty good.
- Indian Authors. This is an offshoot of getting Indian author recommendations from Pradeep, plus I just finished reading The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, which I really enjoyed.
- Jack Kerouac – Jack is my second favorite author, below Kurt Vonnegut, above Ed Abbey.
- Language – See kirkkittell.com/language to get an idea of why I joined this group. One of my major goals is to become fluent, or at least conversant, in more languages besides English.
- Literatura en Espanol. I thought this might be a good way to shake the rust from my knowledge of Spanish.
- poetry in translation. I wonder: what do you lose in translation in literature? How much of the rhyme or rhythm or feel do you miss? I’d like to read the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit or Gitanjali in Bengali.
- Science! I like the crossroads between science and the arts. Vonnegut and Feynmann did it superbly, and I respect them immensely as a result.
- What Are You Reading Now? + 1001 Books to read before you die + The Prizes. These three seemed like interesting groups to join to get book recommendations.
(No, my dear space cadet friends, I didn’t join any space-related groups. SHOCK. HORROR.)
I don’t expect to be an everyday-type person over there. My simple goal is try it once per week for a while, see if it enhances the experience. What does “enhancing the experience” mean? It means, to me, that I learn about more books to read outside of my comfort zone of what I already know. (Plus, hey, if you know me, you know I like to make unsolicited recommendations, so I suppose I’ll be sating that part of me over there as well.) Anything more than once per week is a time sink, anything less is not using the service.