Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

In Case You Were Wondering . . .

Read on to learn everything you ever wanted to know about The Literary Amnesiac (and a few things you probably didn't). This list is a compilation of google keywords that frequently bring visitors to my blog along with explanations of some of my post labels and commonly used phrases. Do you have a burning question that isn't answered here? Let me know.

Agatha Christie Scale
I measure every mystery novel I read using the standard that Agatha Christie has set, since hers are the Best Mystery Novels Ever.

Blog name
I diagnosed myself with literary amnesia years ago. For the majority of books, the plot begins to fade not long after I finish reading. (This is why I can re-read an Agatha Christie book repeatedly and still enjoy it every time.) Although I may remember the oddest tidbits for years, in general my memory is so bad that sometimes I have trouble recalling whether I've read a particular book. That's one of the main reasons I started my book blog--to keep track of what I've read and what I thought about it. The reference to amnesia is also a shout-out to one of my favorite books.

Critical mass
This is the point at which I can't stand to put a book down. Every time I'm away from the book I'm thinking about it anyway, and I'll stay up until 3 a.m. because "I only have 100 pages left to go!" Not every book reaches critical mass, but I looooove those that do.

Literary Amnesiac: See Blog Name.

People love this picture, and I don't blame them. Especially people in Southeast Asia. As a result, I have learned that "anak membaca" is Malay for "child reading." It seems like half of my visitors stumble upon my blog while in search of that particular picture.

Post label: "Book Club Selection"
August 2010 was the first meeting of "Not Oprah's Book Club." We read one book each month, then meet on the Third Friday to discuss, eat, and drink wine.

Post label: "Dictionary Day"
Several years ago I began keeping a List of Words to Look Up as I read. Of course the list kept getting longer and longer, and I did absolutely nothing with it. I'd written down so many words that the thought of sitting down to look them all up was quite overwhelming (plus, with my memory, I knew I'd forget all the definitions pretty quickly). Then one day the lightbulb went on and I decided to define the words, five at a time, here on my blog. This way I have a record of the words I've learned, and I whittled away at the List bit by bit. I've finished defining all of the original words, but I'll surely continue to find new Words to Look Up. Especially if I want to learn all the words there are.

Post label: "Nostalgia Post"
A number of years ago, probably before I'd even heard of blogging, I went through a phase where I wrote a little review of each book I read, just for my own personal enjoyment. I only stuck with it for about six months before I got bored and quit (which is why I'm amazed that I've been posting on this book blog since May 2009 and I haven't stopped loving it yet), but I still have those old files on my computer. Every now and then I dredge one up and post it on my blog, and it becomes a "nostalgia post" under the title "Reading in Retrospect."

Post label: "Not suitable for children . . . or my mom"
There are various reasons I might label a book this way. Strong language, embarrassing sex, intense gore, or anything else that would traumatize the naive and innocent. Regarding Lolita: although the concept of pedophilia is, of course, abhorrent, the book doesn't go into offensive detail. Even so, I used the Not Suitable label because of the way Humbert Humbert attempts to convince his reader through excuses and rationalization that he has done nothing wrong/is not to blame/it was all Lolita's fault/he just couldn't help it. Someone with the maturity to recognize the falseness of his perspective can read about it with no ill effects, but I hate the thought that a child in Lolita's situation might read this book and, as a result, think what they've been subjected to is excusable/normal/their fault. Oh, and I may have blogged about some "unsuitable" books that I never got around to labeling as such, so don't assume that all books without this label are suitable for all audiences.

Post label: "Please don't waste your time reading this book"
I will very, very rarely put my foot down and adamantly insist that you not read a book. In general I am loath to discourage anyone from reading anything, partly because there's usually at least something small to gain from reading any book and partly because one reader's most hated book is often another's most favored. Of the two books I've labeled as "don't read" so far, one deserves the label due to extremely melodramatic squickiness; the other has dreadfully poor writing in dire need of some serious editing.

I can't promise you'll love the books with this tag, but I sure did. I *like* the majority of books I read; I *love* very few.

Post title: "Reading in Retrospect"
See Post label: "Nostalgia Post"

Post title: "Words of the Day"
A tribute to Joey Tribbiani's toilet paper. See also Post label: "Dictionary Day"

Search terms: Funny tombstone quotes
I never thought this little book would bring so many visitors to my blog. I kind of wish I had incorporated more quotes in my post to appease the masses.

Search terms: Isn't Paulo Coelho boring?
I have only read one of Coelho's books, The Alchemist. I don't believe I would describe it as boring, but I have been known to liken it to "steaming piles of crap."

Search terms: Michelangelo in The Birth of Venus
Yes, Michelangelo was in The Birth of Venus. No, he was not "The Painter" hired by Alessandra's father. The Painter would sneak off at night and meet with a group of artists to sketch dead bodies. Michelangelo was a part of this group--more like the ringleader, probably. Michelangelo was the one who carved the beautiful cedar crucifix which so put The Painter to shame that he lost faith in his talent. The Painter was an unnamed fictional character. *Disclaimer: this is just my take on the story. I have yet to get Sarah Dunant's confirmation.

Search terms: Was Antonio Vinci the Monster of Florence?
Possibly. The book strongly suggests that he was. But I suspect the drowned doctor.

Search terms: Was Father Brunetto Datto an actual historical figure? (See The Birth of Venus.)
No, but I googled him after reading the book, too. That's one thing that bothers me about historical fiction--I have trouble distinguishing which parts are history and which parts are fiction. I find it difficult to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Search terms: What happened in The Bourne Deception?
Heck, I don't know. That book really kind of sucked.

Click here to go back to the main blog.