Before the internet, if you wanted to commit yourself to a transcendental pursuit, you would need to go and stand on a pillar in a desert for a clearly circumscribed period of time, or wall yourself into an anchorage, built against a church like a seraphic-aspiring lipoma. Now, whatever your soulwork be, you can organise its unfolding through the means of a blog. Blog. Through overuse and a certain kind of misuse, the term itself now reads tarnishedly. Blog to some ears, even mine, semantically rhymes with fog, slog, or just plain narcissistic glob. Of the zillion blogs floating around cyberspace, most of them are misdirected pixels, but thousands are wholly unique in their focus and ardour, and of a quality that consistently outpaces much print media. Ann Morgan has the knack of creating these uniquely conceptual (but heart-led) blogs. For that’s how I read them: part writing-platform, part spiritual/artistic quest. They seem to inhabit a space between committed, self-disciplined reading, principled advocacy, creative and social interaction with people and books. Her A Year of Reading Women and A Year of Reading The World are not just repositories for excellent book reviews, but rather fully-developed gesamkunstwerk. Almost as much as I enjoy reading each report from the World-Lit-Frontier, I also love, and often pore over the almost identical photo of her ever-accumulating AYORTW bookshelf, occasionally supplemented with small reminders of the unread life (an easter egg, a postcard, a cat, daffodils dancing then wilting). In this episode of RMSYL, she reads to me from Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s An African in Greenland, an uncategorisable gem of book, lying somewhere between memoir and science fiction (as we discover). There is a lovely criss cross here between Kpomassie’s quest, and Morgan’s. Which is why, as she says on her blog (three cheers for blog) he’s also the writer she’d most like to meet. If you’d like to keep in touch with Ann and her quest, there’s her blog of course, but she’s also on Twitter @annmorgan30, and there’s now a dedicated A Year of Reading the World page (like it and you’ll make her day).
As featured in…
"The title says it all. Read Me Something You Love invites literary lovers to select a piece of writing which excites them. Steve Wasserman, then trundles around to your home with his mobile recording studio in an attempt to translate the pleasure of the reading aloud experience to a wider audience.
“One of the joys of doing this is being open to the experience of how other people’s enthusiasms will wing their way into your life and get you all gee’d up about stories or poems you might never have glanced at twice,” says Wasserman.
Anyone can take part, just email your suggestions to Steve. The only real requirement is that your selection has proved spine-tingling to you in some way. Readings are limited to 20-25 minutes, so a short story, a well-chosen extract or a poem are perfect.
Time to start practicing in the mirror methinks."
"I don’t know about you, but seeing someone read a book on the Tube often gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that this potentially wasted part of the day is enriched by a good book. The rarity of book lovers gracing the seats of the Underground these days makes me feel both sad and like I’m in a secret club that is only acknowledged by a sideways glance at the books of fellow commuters.
So on discovering the Human Reading Being blog, part of the Read Me Something You Love project, I was terrified that I’d spot a terrible picture of myself reading something embarrassing and then overjoyed that this humble daily habit is being celebrated.
Read Me Something You Love involves Steve Wasserman asking authors and non-authors alike, to read a piece of literature they love before leading a discussion on the piece. If you love submerging yourself in the imagination of others, come and celebrate this dying pastime."
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