Reading

Random Review

Homage to Catalonia cover image

It’s not very often that I commend a blurb. I prefer to mock them, especially for their brevity or generic flavour—fantasy and science fiction are particularly guilty of this. For Homage to Catalonia I can make an exception: my edition has a blurb on the back cover from Antony Beevor, who calls this “an unrivalled picture of the rumours, suspicions and treachery of civil war.” This describes the book perfectly.

A couple of burdens of ignorance to confess before we begin here. Firstly, I had no idea there was a Spanish Civil War until I picked up this book. If any of the various books related to the early twentieth century or to World War II that I have cracked open since the days of Grade 10 history class mentioned a Spanish Civil War, such passing allusions have long fled my mind. I’m somewhat ashamed to have such a massive gap in my historical knowledge, but there you have it. At least I’ve filled it in with a firsthand account from one of England’s great twentieth-century writers…

Why I Read

Mostly for entertainment and edification. Reading is fun, and reading is a great way to learn. Although I indulge in television, movies, and video games, reading is my favourite way to relax. With a book, I can experience the story at my own pace, moving faster or slower as my interest demands. Books offer an infinite canvas for the imagination of both the author and the audience; with books, anything is possible.

What I Read

Everything! Well, almost. I try to read as widely as possible in recognition of the fact that genres are more of a marketing label than an adequate way to categorize books. But I have some favourite areas of fiction and non-fiction, and there are areas I avoid.

When I first began reading on my own, I devoured mysteries: Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Agathie Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle. Then I discovered science fiction and fantasy, and those remain my favourite genres today. I still delve into mysteries, historical fiction, and a variety in between, but science fiction and fantasy are my mainstays. For non-fiction, I mostly read books about science and technology. In particular, I love books about the history and philosophy of science, technology, or mathematics.

You can follow my reading above, or at Goodreads.

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