Chances are, you buy books much faster than you read them.

Now, if you worked three years in a bookstore, say, you’d build up one hell of a backlog, wouldn’t you?

That’s my situation. If that weren’t enough, my darling fiancée and I merged our books, and her personal collection is equally menacing. But Peace Corps duty has called her across the world, and I’m now watching over a library big enough to be proud of. And I would be–if only I’d read most of the things.

Of course there’s the occasional new release that needs reading, too.

I write reviews surrounded by rows, piles, and heaps of these unread books that stare at me in reproach. They will not go unloved. Or, in some cases, unhated.

Welcome to Thwok!

Doug Chartier


17 thoughts on “About

  1. Interesting blog. I remember when I first fell in love with books and how it changed my life (Benito Perez Galdos’ “Marianela” if you ever find an english copy, read it) and I’ve always secretly dreamt of working at a bookstore or library but never did. I bet it’s fun.

  2. Marianela, eh? I’ll look that one up when I go in to work today.

    Bookstore’s a great little job—and by little, I’m referring mostly to the pay, which you have to make your peace with while you work there. But you do learn a little bit about everything, and recommending books to people you meet is a real pleasure.

    I wasn’t big on literature, myself, until 11th grade, when F. Scott Fitzgerald busted me wide open.

  3. F. Scott huh? I must say I’ve never read anything by him, as a matter of fact, with the sole exception of “to kill a mockingbird” I haven’t really read anything by any of history’s literary greats, (not that I read trashy novels by hacks but you get my point) which is very sad, I need to work on that.
    Hey what exactly is mcsweeney’s? a friend just sent me the link and then I remembered your blog links to it too.

  4. Yo, I would like to ask your expertise/opinion: I’m on the lookout for something to read: something intriguing, mysterious, thought provoking, not safe or dealing with lawers and cops, and not necessarily with a happy ending. Am I being too difficult? I haven’t been able to find any book that begs me to read it and I’ve been looking for a few weeks (since I finished “The Road”) that I almost bought “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” again to re-read.
    Can you help me? Thanks.

  5. While I don’t a make habit of recommending books I’ve yet to read, I’ve been insanely eager to start this one, and I think you’d be interested in it, too: have a look at Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo.

  6. Thanks, sounds very interesting so I’ll check it out.
    Have you read “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? I purchased it by accident 4 years ago and it’s probably one of my top 5 favorite books ever now. There’s a follow up of sorts (it takes place before the events of the first book) “The Angel’s Game” coming out in like two weeks, so I can’t wait for that.

  7. I’ve heard good things about The Shadow of the Wind: it sounds a lot like The Club Dumas but is supposed to be even better, so in that regard my interest is already piqued. And yeah, talk about a much anticipated follow-up.

    (By the way, I did end up reading Pedro Paramo last night, and I wholeheartedly stand by my recommendation).

  8. …I was actually going to email you but I remember some people find it weird when someone they don’t actually know takes that liberty……

    Two things: First, remember that scifi project of mine? I have one last character to name and I thought about naming him after you (I have a tendency to named characters after people I know one way or another). Your thoughts?

    Second, what are the chances of getting you to criticize something of mine? I’ve had 6 different people read it and they all have praised it, which has gotten me annoyed. (I know my limitations; I’m nowhere near that amazing) and I need someone to (finally) give me a more honest opinion about the story, why it worked or didn’t for them etc.

    Totally cool if you say no, it isn’t that serious.

  9. Hmmm. Which name? Not that I hold the copyright to the name Doug (Canada does) but I wouldn’t mind if you used it. That or the last name (and Canada definitely owns that). I say this knowing full well that the character could be pedophiliac seal poacher with a lisp. I’m not assuming you wrote a character like that into your story, but one might feel compelled to name him Doug, all the same.

    One-dimensional feedback is a frustrating thing when you’re writing. I’d be happy to have a look at your story in case anything strikes me to be worth tweaking. And I promise not to disparage the thing outright just because you want something other than praise. Go ahead and email it!

  10. A pedo-seal-poacher? haha, I may be able to work that into the story. To give you an brief idea: don’t know if you’ve ever watch Battlestar Galactica the re-imagined series (and this is as far away from BSG as it gets but I don’t really know what else to use to explain) Doug C. would be the equivalent to one of the final five cylons.

    I’m glad you didn’t immediately ask if you (the character) was going to die. For most people whose names I’ve used, that’s all they really care for, forget if the character does despicable things or not. To make it to the end alive seems to be all people ever want.

    Awesome! I’m not so much concern on whether you hate/like but the “why.” That’s what I’m after.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. I’ve just discovered your blog [I don’t know how; the journey was murky]. Before I have a commmenting party at your posts, I have to say that I laughed too hard at your blog name, and the incredibly helpful subtitle.

  12. I just found your blog recently and have enjoyed reading several randomly selected entries. I am a too-many-books-too-little-time person myself, and I am dismayed at how many un-read recommended books there are on “my list.”

    This is a fun site I now have bookmarked and will visit often. Thanks for putting it out there!

  13. Why, thanks for reading, Cheryl! “The list” can be both daunting and exciting, like looking at Mount Kilimanjaro. Maybe your list actually resembles Kilimanjaro when physically represented in a stack. What are some titles on it?

  14. Oops, sorry … only just noticed you posted a question to me!

    Some titles on my list are two short story collections by Stephen King (Just After Sunset and Full Dark, No Stars); Drood by Dan Simmons; The Angel’s Game by Carolos Ruiz Zafon; Thunderstruck by Erik Larson; and even some classics such as Brave New World and The Count of Monte Cristo and Moby Dick. To name a few.

    Although, since your posted question, I’ve READ a few on the list — The Terror by Dan Simmons, and The Bean Trees and Poisonwood Bible, both by Barbara Kingsolver.

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