I won’t tell you not to read Fifty Shades of Grey and its accompanying sequels, all written by E.L. James. It’s against every grain of my librarian instinct to try to prevent reading, or to shame people over their reading choices. But I can’t keep silent either.
I’m partway through the book – reading it together with a friend – and I feel like there are a few things I have to put out there that have really troubled me as I’ve worked my way through the story. I’m not looking to turn people off the books, but I do hope that anyone who chooses to read them will do so with a bit more critical thought for having heard what I’ve got to say.
Image via The Bookmooch Journals.
It was a suggestion from one of my professors at librarian school, for a class on Reader’s Advisory Services. (That translates from library-speak as “helping people decide what books to check out even if their tastes are different from yours”.) She said, “I write down the author and title of every book I read, along with a summary in my own words of what they’re about. That way, if somebody wants to know what I’ve read and would recommend, I’ve got it all at my fingertips.” Sometimes, she suggested, library patrons would page through her journal to get ideas for their own reading lists.
What good is a book journal? And how is it different from a regular journal? A book journal is a place to record all the books you’ve read – good, bad, or indifferent – in chronological order, a log of your life as a reader. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, as long as it tracks your reading history across time. In a way, this blog’s “What Is Your Librarian Reading?” feature functions as a book journal: I write about every book I read. But what you don’t see is that I also keep a paper log of my reading choices that I’ll (hopefully) have on hand long after this blog is lost to cyberspace.