The Bibliovore's Dilemma

As a voracious and close reader, I tend to be influenced by what I am reading at the moment. This can be, especially for the slow readers among us, a class of which I count myself  a proud member, perceived as a good or a bad phenomenon. For instance, I have just finished reading The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht. In the story, Kipling's The Jungle Book figures importantly; it is another novel which uses folklore to relay a larger message. Suffice it to say that upon finishing Ms. Obreht's mesmerizing novel, I immediately switched on my Kindle and downloaded a copy of Kipling's classic (for free, I might add). Yes, that's right, I have never read The Jungle Book, but that's not so surprising, especially to me, since I'm aware that I am woefully lacking in the classics.

My larger point here is that by paying close attention to the book, I have been waylaid, put off my reading schedule, slowed down to a greater degree, simply because of my curious nature; my anal need to read all the material that characters in my reading material have read, and in so doing come to a more complete and fulfilling understanding of those character's and in turn the initial work as a whole. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, It could be considered detrimental in one respect as, like I have said, it delays my constant pursuit of new material for review on my TBR list. Yet it could be considered advantageous for the very same reason.  Reading, like writing, can be self generative and will tend to, if you let it, branch off into unexpected directions.

The truth is, I sometimes allow myself to branch off, like when I recently read Melville's short work, Bartleby the Scrivener, after it was mentioned in T.C. Boyle's latest novel When the Killing's Done, other times I simply ignore the referential titles, or at least store them away for later, like when recently I read Rodin's Débutante by Ward Just, though have yet to read (once again) Melville's Omoo, which was prominently featured as the touchstone of a minor character in Just's new novel. So ultimately, like anything else, one will read what one wants to read, but I love the idea of literature begetting literature and reading begetting reading. So if you are ever in a quandary for what to read next, just take another close look back at what you just read, it's likely to tell you.

Does anyone have any examples of books leading on to other books and on and on and so on....? Leave a comment.

Books mentioned in this post:
The Tiger's Wife: A Novel
The Jungle Book (Sterling Classics)
When the Killing's Done: A Novel
Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (Penguin Classics)
Rodin's Debutante
Bartleby, the Scrivener (Dodo Press)