What follows in quotations marks below is the original concept for this website as I explained it in a first post some four years ago, on 23 March 2014 to be exact. The idea behind the blog has changed now (or rather, its self-imposed and rather gimmicky limitation to one book/bookshop has been abandoned). Now, enveloped in this new guise, the focus is on sharing thoughts about any book(s) I read (hopefully, this should mean I don’t dawdle for years again). I want to shamelessly and self-indulgently write about my own literary journey but also share it and hope to read about other people’s bookish experiences, the connections they make, the spillage between the written world and their lives, and all the other reader response shebang you can think of.

Scroll down past this first explanatory post to find an archive of all the book reviews that were posted here before, including a more recent one with the books amassed (and still unread)/bookshops visited since then (where I still had this concept in mind). I have taken some new snaps of the previously reviewed books but alas, not much can fix the abysmal blurriness of the photos of the bookshops. (Also, I may have altered a word here and there.)

“What It’s All About (23 March 2014)

Most often, I find blank pages intimidating. This one, so far, keeps with tradition.

So I can try to keep it – relatively –  brief.

I am constantly overwhelmed by the number of books I want to read, and exceedingly exasperated by the lack of time. I greatly admire, and am quite jealous of, people who manage to whiz through pages, and what’s more, remember everything. My list, on the other hand, never stops feeding off friends’ recommendations, newspaper reviews, collections of book titles you should read in order to be considered well-read. I am guilty of sometimes following the latter lists – or rather, spending ages trying to get to grips with the 100/1001 titles, to then give up and later pick up a book that will probably never make it on there. I have been reading writers’ interviews on The Paris Review website lately, and I am struck by the vast number  of works to which they refer. And then, of course, there are all the books by my favourite writers that I am still to read, and the upcoming compulsory reading for university.

This website has a very simple premise. It is my own personal rebellion against all that relentless accumulation. This protest involves roaming the streets of wherever I find myself at the moment, and upon coming across a bookstore, just choosing a book – any book. Whenever I am done reading it, I will share thoughts, impressions, and associations here. That doesn’t mean I will actually abandon all the other books that have found their way to my shelves/moving boxes and, for various reasons, have their secrets still safe from me. This is simply my attempt to rediscover that feeling of complete immersion in a book which just happened to be in my grandparents’ house, all innocent nonchalance before I opened it. That way, I fell in love with Jane Eyre and Ivanhoe, Mayne Reid and Karl Mai’s stories of adventure, and Nikolay Kun’s Greek Myths and Legends, which I often ‘borrowed’ from my mother’s bookshelf of school materials. That was also how I came across A. J. Cronin’s The Green Years, of which I now mostly remember that it affected me to an extreme extent; I look forward to rereading it at some point. I also recollect leafing through my father’s old veterinary textbooks, as well as poring over a book with pictures and detailed descriptions of animals and plants. Very few texts have provided a pleasure equal to that offered by an unknown book, one to which no expectations attach.

Recently I went in, for the first time, in this boat/bookshop – that is, after I waited around a little bit for it to open. So begins this rebellion. I will be telling you all about the book I left with next time.

P.S. In case you’re baffled by the ‘mastilo’ in the title – it’s Bulgarian for ‘ink’.

*All pictures taken by me.

The Danube Testament by Ingrid Mann (found in London, United Kingdom)