For the past five years I've read at a constant pace: I consume about one book a week, or fifty books a year. I'd like to improve on that. Before 1998 I read twice as much. It's my goal to return to the one-hundred book per year level, but it's going to require a concentrated effort.
I plan to reduce the amount of time I waste on the internet. I check my e-mail several times an hour. I check my favorite web sites multiple times each day. I surf aimlessly for hours at a time. This is insane. I don't intend to forego the internet completely, but I do plan to become its master rather than let it master me.
To begin my reading reformation, I want to read voraciously for a week or two, to re-establish the habits of a constant reader. My posts here may become sporadic. Or they may increase as I share what I'm reading. I don't know. It's almost certain that this weblog will become rather book-centric for a while.
This month, I've already finished The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (heartbreaking, beautiful) and Freakonomics (interesting but shallow). I'm currently auditing Chaim Potok's The Chosen, and will have it finished by midweek. I'm starting on Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point as soon as I post this entry, and hope to have read the entire thing by tomorrow. I have Gladwell's Blink in the queue, too.
And, of course, I want to reenter the world of Proust.
I have a stack of books to read. (Not including the 41 books I currently have borrowed from the library. Most of the library books are cookbooks or photography books, meant more for browsing than linear consumption.) I won't get to all of the books in my stack, of course, but I hope to get to most. I'm looking for more recommendations that I can add to my list: fiction, nonfiction, I don't care.
This reading plan means that I'll be able to reintroduce some science fiction and fantasy into my book diet. When I read less, I tend to forego speculative fiction because, as I've mentioned before, I feel its quality generally doesn't measure up. This means that I'll finally get to the rest of the speculative fiction books that Jim has sent me over the past year. Exciting!
I knew that I wanted to read The Tipping Point next — before beginning Blink — but I was having trouble finding a copy. Powell's has many, but I'm cranky at Powell's lately. This was only exacerbated when I saw that all of their used copies were in a warehouse, inaccessible to me if I wanted a copy today. Typical. I checked the Clackamas County Library system, and while there were fourteen copies in circulation, there were nineteen holds on them. Since I was in the mood for a field trip, anyhow, I treated myself to cheap tacos at Cha! Cha! Cha! and then stopped by Wallace Books in Sellwood.
Wallace Books is a smallish used book store, taking up the entire first floor of a house. (Does the proprietor live upstairs? I don't know. It's possible.) Their selection is varied (and they have a great kids section), thought it's not as broad as you might find in a larger book store. Though the books are sometimes organized, they're just as often stacked in heaps. The fellow who's often there (who is apparently not the owner) is quite helpful. He took the time to have a conversation with me about The Tipping Point (and Freakonomics, which he hasn't read). Based on the conversation, he was able to recommend other, similar books. You won't find deep discounts at Wallace Books, but who cares? If you shop there, you're helping a local book store stay in business. If you live in Oak Grove, Milwaukie, Sellwood, or Woodstock, give the shop a try.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — Curving Like a Trout The first two paragraphs of Crossing to Safety provide a fine example of what is right with this book.
2003 — Shrink Not With Afright In which I listen to Christmas carols in midsummer.