Earlier this week I read this post by Mark Charan Newton. It sparked some interesting discussion in the comments section and also some introspection in the blogosphere. Ria from Tea and Tomes wrote a very interesting response, while both Amanda from Floor to Ceiling Books and Jeff C from a Genre Reader decided to do new things after reading Mark’s post.
Of course it got me thinking too. In commenting on Amanda’s post I said the following:
…I think I’m good RE: Mark’s blog post, mostly because like Tea, I’m a new blogger and don’t get any ARC’s or review copies and only get to buy new books once every so often. Fortunately I have about 60 book on my TBR-pile including a lot of really old books (18th century English novels, don’t ask, bought them for my MA thesis, which I never finished, and still need to read them) and several English lit classics and other books I should have read for courses at uni but never did. So that might make for some interesting reviews lmao might do a series on speculative themes/aspects in those non-genre oldies!…
After taking a closer look at my TBR-pile, I noticed that it was about half SFF and half non-SFF. The SFF part is a mix of shiny new books and older books for which I wanted to re-read the prior books and never got round to it. But in the long run, I’m pretty sure these will be read. The non-SFF books are a mixture of books I bought for classes at university and for my MA and never got around to reading and/or finishing, old books I got from my mother when she was getting rid of them and non-genre books I bought, but never got around to reading. I always planned to read all of them. In fact, a few years ago I had a phase where I told myself I had to read all the books on my shelves, before being allowed to buy new ones. I got a long, long way and then failed on the last 30-odd books. Those are the ones left on the non-sff list.
After thinking it over and letting the idea simmer for a bit, I finally decided that I’m going to do a semi-regular feature called Way Beyond Retro. In this feature I’m going to read these books, which may otherwise stay unread in favour of my shiny new books or SFF books. I will try with each to either link them to the speculative, or in cases where that is just not possible, to see why they should be read today. For the non-fiction works on there, the (auto) biographies and history works, it’ll just be regular reviews, since for now I can’t think of anything else to do with them. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!
For those of you who checked out both the TBR-shelf and the WBR-shelf; yes, I realise that the Alistair MacLean books aren’t covered, but I might one day just do a theme week or something with those.
So there you go, that’s my new feature. I’m starting my first book planned for this today, so look for the first post in this series somewhere in the following week. What do you think? Are you interested or do you think I should just stick to the SFF books?