This might seem hypocritical considering I have a book blog, but I don’t actually read book reviews — at least in their entirety. Hopefully that doesn’t scare away my readers. I like to form an opinion of a book with little input from others, especially critics who I don’t always trust. I love best-of lists and enjoy reading just enough of a review to understand the main plot and premise.
But let me clear: I need to know that main plot and premise before deciding to read a book.
This surprised my partner, Kyle, about a month ago after boarding a flight for Colorado. I had just received Before We Were Yours on my Kindle, but when Kyle asked what it was about, I couldn’t remember. Because that nagged me to no end, I made sure to Google it before takeoff.
Kyle was perplexed: “You couldn’t just start reading? You had to know what it was about?” Yes, yes I did. Why the judgment? And this is how the challenge was born and how I found myself reading The Dogs of Babel.
Kyle dared me to read a book about which I knew nothing. I could look at the title and the cover, but that was it. From there, I would have to read the full book. Then, I’d write a blog post about my experience. Now this seemed like an impossible task for me to do alone; I read way too many literary lists and get incredibly distracted at bookstores (so many pretty covers!), so I made him pick out one in Ole Man Berkins in Breckenridge, Co.
Naturally, because we’ve had a lot of great conversations about cats (my favorite) versus dogs (his), he picked a book with a dog on the cover. He read the back of the book to verify it was something I’d be interested in (and he was right). But The Dogs of Babel was a book I’d never heard of. Did I really trust myself to not take a sneak peak at the back summary or to look it up on Goodreads while he was sleeping?
I did not; self-control has never been my strong suit. I should have though because I succeeded in not reading a damn thing about this odd book until I had finished reading it.
Well, as you hopefully know, I did really enjoy this book (four flames to be exact). And I must admit that I liked the mystery of a book whose details were unknown to me. Although I felt temptation and an urge to know the truth, I’m glad I didn’t give in and stayed true to the challenge.
Would I do it again?
Ehhh that’s another story — no pun intended. To be fair, book summaries written by the publishers or even by critics rarely give much away. Plus, I’m a busy woman with a lot of books to read. Do I really want to take the chance? This might be a once-a-year type deal.
However, I must say that I’d assign five flames to diving headfirst into the unknown without any kind of warning — and that’s just a great metaphor for life.