Q: What are you reading lately?
A: Mostly old books by dead guys.
Old Books by Dead Guys began in January 2012. As a lifelong lover of classic literature, I experienced an embarrassment of riches when I got my first Kindle in 2010. After years of scouring used bookstores and hunting down old paperbacks on ebay, suddenly a hefty helping of the world’s greatest literature was available at my fingertips, much of it for free.
As I delved into the obscure books of some of my favorite authors—Jack London, Emile Zola, Frank Norris, Honoré de Balzac—I noticed a scarcity of information online regarding their lesser known works. To combat this lack of information, I began writing book reviews at Amazon for the benefit of likeminded readers. After reaching a critical mass of these reviews, I decided to start a blog to collect them all in one searchable location, where I could tag and cross-reference the reviews, mostly for my own personal reference. Thus, Old Books by Dead Guys was born.
Since then, I’ve reviewed the complete works of London, Norris, and a few other authors, and I continue to chip away at the oeuvres of Zola, Balzac, and others. I have tried to maintain a rate of three posts per week, though I don’t always make it. I never review books from distant memory but only immediately after reading them, which gives me an excuse to go back and reread favorite books that I haven’t read in many years.
My reviews are aimed at the general reader with an appreciation for classic literature. My intention is to suggest books to people who have not yet read them, so unlike a real literary scholar, I won’t ruin the ending for you. Though my tastes lean toward the antiquated, the subject matter of this blog is not limited to the scope of its title. Books by dead ladies are welcome too, and I do occasionally review more current books, which is why I included “whatever else I happen to be reading” in the blog’s masthead.
My rating system is based on the Amazon/Netflix 5-star system, as follows:
Didn’t like it.
The positive reviews will outnumber the negative because when I’m choosing books to read, naturally I’m going to choose something I think I’ll like.