Monthly Archives: March 2006

The glow has faded


After a month or so, my Excel spreadsheet proved to be less worthy of obsession, and more like work. Don’t get me wrong, I still put the books that I actually read on the first page, but putting all of the books I buy on the To-Be-Read list kind of fell by the wayside. Now I see why Michael thought I might be overdoing it.

On the other hand, I am excited to finally have enough books on my list of those I have read for it to start being interesting. For instance, at the beginning of this month, I filtered the list for Science Fiction books, and was very surprised to only find 4 of them. Granted, there were only 28 books on the list at that time, and for many people, 4 would be a large number of books to devote to science fiction, but it is one of my favorite genres. I immediately went out and bought 2 Philip K. Dick books, Lies, Inc, and Paycheck and Other Classic Stories. I also bought two more science fiction novels this weekend–Psychlone by Greg Bear, and Time Out of Joint, again by Philip K. Dick.

This morning I even took a stab at cleaning up the second and third pages of my workbook. I moved books that I had bought from my list of books-to-buy over to my list of books-to-be-read. I deleted books-to-be-read that I actually had read, but had forgotten to remove from the list. I even added the five books that I bought yesterday to the list of books-to-be-read. I ended up with 49 books to be read, 29+ books to buy and 33 books read since the end of last November. Looking back a couple of posts, it looks like I have made progress going through the books I own (my post from January 8 says that I had 53 books on the to-be-read list), but that is probably because I didn’t look through my bookshelves to see what still needs to be added.

So, here are some random thoughts I had when looking over my list of books so far.

  • I haven’t read as many memoirs lately as I thought I had. I have bought some, but there are only two memoirs that are actually completely read. This is interesting to me, because it seemed to me that lately I have been reading a lot of memoirs. This is probably due to several factors: reading those two very close together in time, purchasing 3 more right after reading those, and endlessly debating the nature of memoirs with my friend Michael after that whole James Frey thing.
  • I read a lot of collections of books. I like to find an author that I like and read everything by him or her. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It does mean I read a lot of books that I like, but I wonder if it means that I am lacking in breadth and diversity.
  • Counteracting the above observation to some degree, I read a lot more non-fiction than I did when I was younger. I used to be a fiction-only kind of gal, but now I find myself enjoying non-fiction quite a bit more. I have only completed 5 non-fiction books in the past 4 months or so that I have been listing them, but I have others that I know I will read, and hey, I’m sitting at 15% of the total books that I have read. It’s not a huge percentage, but it is significant.
  • Even though I feel like I have been reading more slowly lately, I am still on a pace of two books per week.
  • I don’t read nearly as many magazines lately as I used to. I want all of my reading to count for this list, dammit! I do still read newspapers, though, and lots and lots of stuff for work.
  • Having a list makes me much more conscious of what I am reading, and not always in a good way. I want my list to make me look intelligent, so I put off reading The Summer I Dared, by Barbara Delinsky, for a while because it felt too lightweight. I finally read it last week and finished it in a day. I stayed up until 1 AM on a work night because I HAD to know how it ended. So, snobbery could have robbed me of a great reading experience. Who cares if a book is weighty? It should just be good.

I thought about adding some kind of intellectual point after that last observation, but stopped myself just in time ;-).