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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Librarian Who Didn't Read

In her part of the blogiverse, Kelly writes: "But here is my ultimate question.....How many books can one person read at a given time?"

Here's something that bothers me somewhat. Lately I don't read any books. I mean from cover to cover. I START lots of books, but never finish them.

For instance, my friend Janna lent me "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Michael Chabon, TWO YEARS AGO. It's of the comic book genre, with which I have a passing familiarity. Yet at some point, I stopped, and I'd have to start all over again.

I took out "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, started reading, and got annoyed, because I'm reading the stuff I read before and haven't gotten to the new stuff yet.

I have any number of books by Bob Woodward (Wired, The Commanders, The Brethren) started but never completed, not to mention of other political books in the same boat.

The only reason I finished that Jimmy Carter book (barely) that I reviewed last month is that it rained at the Hall of Fame game.

Several years back, well Before Lydia, I belonged to a book club and read at least 10 books a year, so I USED to be able to read books.

I find anymore that I prefer the company of things I can refer to - I AM a reference librarian - such as the Joel Whitburn Billboard charts books, Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide and other cinema books, The Complete Guide to Prime Time Network and Cable Shows, ESPN Sports Almanac, guides to specific TV shows, and the like.

And I do read periodicals, LOTS of periodicals, actually, things I can start and stop reading, such as newspapers and magazines. And when it's Wednesday and I haven't finished Sunday's newspaper- often the case - I feel a little guilty reading other stuff.

But this summer, I'm reading a book. Maybe two. Probably one I already own (or have borrowed). And now that I've put it out there, I imagine/expect that you'll hold me to it.


Lynn said...

I read a lot more before being a parent also. Of course, the distraction of the Internet doesn't encourage settling down with a good book, either. Sigh.

Alan Plessinger said...

My concentration is terrible, and there can't be anything shiny anywhere in my peripheral vision or I can't read, and I also have to have it dead silent. But I still usually am able to read 10 pages a night, or 5 if it's a classic. I always read at least one classic a year. Sometimes I skip a night, but I usually stick with a book and read it all the way through, and only read one at a time. Currently reading PG Wodehouse's "Uncle Fred in the Springtime." Funny stuff. Last year's classic was "Don Quixote." This year's was "The Prince and the Pauper," because I thought I deserved something short and not very challenging after "Don Quixote." Although "Don Quixote" was long but not all that challenging. A fun, funny book.