I have never had a wide circle of friends and my family is not large. The friends that I made in my life, few of them were readers. Those that were readers never read the same books as me. I consider myself an eclectic reader. I drift from genre to genre, subject to subject on a whim or a mood. I love lists and book lists in particular. Over the course of my long life I have read most of the classics but never fell in love with them. People who rave about Jane Austen make me wonder about myself. In some ways I think that I have not read all of Jane Austen out of sheer stubbornness. I should have so I won’t…pout.
I recently read a book blog by another book crazy lady and went through her list of the books she had read in the last five years. My first reaction was …I am falling behind popular culture. So many books, so little time. Am I wasting my time on books that are not worthy? In 2015 I challenged myself to 250 books (which I shall soon increase to 300). Goodreads Challenge…I am up to 218 books. For sure this year I am reading quantity, not quality but I am also reading what comforts me these days. I no longer read books that challenge my mind, are considered ‘good’, are best sellers, are life affirming or any other reason for reading. I do not want my emotions shifted, my heart moved, my mind increased. Been there, done that. All my life I kept a binder in which I wrote the title of every book I ever read. The thing is massive because reading has always been the be all end all of my life. It is my addiction, my only true friend but that friend is not classy, overly intelligent, famous or ageless. He changes frequently from science fiction to fantasy to mysteries to romances, to biography. Books of quotations, books about reading, books about cooking (I who never cook…read cookbooks). Books of jokes and books of cartoons. I have to possess books; going to the library doesn’t suit me any more…though when I was a child it was my favourite place in the whole world. On Tumblr…pictures of book shelves and libraries are what hold my interest most. There are books I read almost yearly. I have books that I have read thirty times. Funny things can put me off, I read Lord of the Rings ten times before the movie came out and now cannot read it at all. I have had my Harlequin romance years (the early years before sex), my Barbara Cartland phase, Georgette Heyer. I did read a couple Jacqueline Susann books but no Jackie Collins. A few Harold Robbins back in the day. Patrick O’Brien series is wonderful but work so I read Dudley Pope’s Ramage or Alexander Kent’s Bolitho more often. I fall in love with writers….Harlan Ellison, Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote. There are writer’s whose lives are more interesting to me than their actual writing…like Virginia Woolf. I am set in my ways and time is short. It breaks my heart that there are so many books I might like to taste but don’t because time is limited and I would rather stick with my favourite ones. Still, I sometimes feel I am doing a disservice to my brain, that I am not reading up to my potential, that I am missing a lot of life. Then I listen to the news and realize…life is not what it is cracked up to be and I will continue to read stuff that doesn’t stir me to grief and tears or to nausea. In other words, reading lite…nothing too taxing. I go on binges in categories…one book leading to another as fast as I can buy and read. I do not write much on Tumblr, Dreamwidth and WordPress. I save photos on Pinterest. I have a Twitter account but do not tweet. I have a Facebook but seldom post anything…just look at what shows up on my feed. I am connected but not involved and that just about sums up my life in books I read but not much sticks. I have notebooks filled with quotes and lines that I fell in love with in books and feared I would forget or never come across again. I buy mostly paperbacks so I can underline and annotate. I can reread any of my books frequently…one of the side benefits of reading quickly and not absorbing. I love when a single line in one book or a name will send me to Google or to Amazon and off on a tangent to a new interest, a new series. I am not an adventurous reader…or at least I do not think I am. I am not that fussy about quality of writing. There are very few books in my life that I didn’t finish and of those only one I regret…Proust’s Remembrance. I think I grew too old to appreciate it and the last time I tried I realized there was no point. I am totally incapable of writing reviews of books I have read…I cannot break them down into what was good and what was bad or what was well written and what was not. I could recap with spoilers the entire thing but that is not a review. I have no discernable taste as far as I know. I have never read a book I hated or could not finish because it was awful. I also have seldom read a book I thought was absolutely fabulous. Books are either keepers or ones I know instantly I will never read again. When I am asked to rate books I am always ticked off that there are not enough stars. Often my feeling is 3 stars are too few and 4 stars are too many and my lack of discrimination makes me hesitant to ever use 5 stars. Books are like chocolate….even poor quality chocolate is great stuff.