July 18, 2010

So Many Books, So Little Time

I was recently browsing through one of my favorite websites, http://www.goodreads.com/, and was struck by how many wonderful and not so wonderful books I’ve yet to read.  Although I’ve already made my way through an impressive number of tomes in my lifetime, there are still so many stories I haven’t had time to explore, so many worlds still undiscovered.  How will I get to them all?

If I have one lifelong love in my life, one true thing I could never imagine giving up, it’s books.  Just the sight of them in my home evokes a sense of comfort and calm.  And when I say they have been a lifelong love, that is no exaggeration.  I’ve been reading voraciously since I was a child, and before I knew how to read, my mom read to me.  They’ve always been there like an old friend, waiting to teach me, show me new lands, comfort me when I was down, and take my mind off the real world when I needed an escape, even if only for a short while.  Long before I learned to “Google it,” I learned that I could find the answer to almost anything in a book in the library.  And the smell.  Ah, there is nothing so soothing to me as the smell of a used bookstore.  My stress level immediately plummets as I walk through the doors.  

Technology is wonderful and everyone knows that if I had money to burn I’d be a top notch techno geek with the latest gadgets, but Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. simply can’t replace my beloved books.  Don’t get me wrong, I truly do think e-readers are great.  It’s just that I like the feel of a book in my hand.  I enjoy the texture of the paper when I turn a page, the weight in my arms when I carry it, the art on the cover (even when it’s bad).  

And although I own at least twenty real bookmarks, I grab whatever slip of paper is near when I finish my first reading session, and use it to mark the beginning of my journey.  Normally, I don’t give it a second glance until I finished the book.  You see, at the end, part of my experience is looking to see what it was that was handy when I started reading so many chapters ago.  Marking my progress through books have been photos, notes from friends, ideas for stories of my own, shopping lists, birthday cards, envelopes, expired coupons, the list goes on.  

Some people choose to plow their way through book after book, reading as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next.  I've never been one of those.  I take my time, choosing to savor the moments the author presents to me.  I don't like to rush my way through.  This isn't a sprint to the finish line, it's a voyage across the ocean.  If a friend and I start a book at the same time, I will always reach the end of the tale well behind her.  It's not that I can't read quickly, it's that I choose not to when it comes to novels.  And if I’m truly enjoying a book, I will slow down even more as I near the end, postponing the inevitable day when I read the last word and have to say goodbye to the characters and world that have entertained me for so many hours.  

As I browsed through Goodreads today, marking books I’ve read and rating them, I found it interesting how many genres I’ve enjoyed over the years and how many have been made into movies that I’ve never seen.  My taste in books has always been very eclectic, which makes it difficult when someone asks me what I like to read.  I can’t pin it down for them because it depends on my mood.  I can tell you that once I’ve read a book, it’s very hard for me to bring myself to watch the celluloid version of it.  I’ve done it a few times, and have almost always been disappointed.  Inevitably characters are left out, scenes are changed, themes have morphed, or entirely new storylines have been added.  Nothing ever compares to the world or the characters as I imagined them in my mind.  

So why this long blog about my love of books?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it’s just that Goodreads has me longing for the days of my youth when I could spend an entire summer reading my way through every type of book.  Now it seems that life gets in the way.  Back then, nothing kept me from my love.  I spent my summers living a very active life, but I also spent them falling in love with heroes, being frightened out of my wits by ghosts, living on the prairie and battling the wilds, being abducted by pirates, and more.  Could it be that there are simply too many distractions today?  Maybe one day I’ll experiment by going off the grid to see if doing without television, internet, texting, etc. frees up time for unlimited reading.  I wonder if I can do it?  Hmmm... now there is something to think about.  

In the meantime, with the help of Goodreads, I’m making a long list of books I hope to someday experience.  If you have any suggestions for recent must reads, send them my way and I'll add it to my list, try to read it this summer and let you know what I thought.


  1. Lots of distractions for sure. When you mentioned the smell of the used book store I smiled. My stress level goes down when I walk in a ski shop and smell the wax from working on the skis. :-) Love the like button. I am going to have to experiment again with the new templates. Which one is this?

  2. Thanks Jackie. This is one of the Awesome Inc. templates, but I customized it by changing the background, colors, fonts and layout. I have just as much fun changing the look as I do writing the blog.