Since my last blog post ended with me in the bookstore, I figured I would devote this blog post to my love of reading. Even though I love to read I don’t read that many books. For three years now I’ve made it my goal to read 50 books a year. The first year I reached my goal but the second year I only made it to 44 books. This year so far I’m 6 books behind schedule. It’s not that I don’t have plenty of free time. It’s that I have very poor concentration and am a very slow reader.
I’m not sure what the secret to speed reading is but it probably does not involve sounding out every single word you read in your head and mouthing it on your lips. To the annoyance of the people around me sometimes I start whispering what I’m reading. When no one is around sometimes I don’t even whisper what I’m reading. I just read out loud because I’m a weirdo like that.
I’m also a weirdo who likes to recite lists in my head over and over again. One of the lists of things I recite in my head over and over again is the list of all the books I’ve read in the last few years in the order in which I read them. I also like reading lists of books on the internet by category, ranking or best seller status and sometimes I feel like I spend more time doing that than I spend actually reading books.
The process I use to select which book I’m going to read next is also a bit weird. There always has to be a reason I’m reading the particular book I’m reading at the particular time I’m reading it. Sometimes the reason I’m reading a particular book is as simple as someone recommended it to me, there’s a movie based on the book coming out soon or it’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages but sometimes it’a a bit more complicated than that. When I was on a European vacation I decided to read books set in Europe, one October I decided to read scary books in honor of Halloween and for my 5th book of the year I decided to read The 5th Wave. Last year my dog died shortly before my birthday and I was feeling sad about it so I thought “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” was an appropriate choice.
People often ask me what kind of books I like to read and I’m never quite sure how to answer that question. If I had to pick a favorite category of books I’d pick the broad category of literary fiction. I’m a bit of a book snob.I like to read those books that won prestigious literary awards and received critical acclaim. That’s not to say I don’t read books that are popular but trashy and poorly written because I do. I’ve read things like Twilight, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Divergent. I even read Me Before You, which is a rather silly and somewhat offensive romance novel but I will never stoop so low as to read a Harlequin romance or 50 Shades of Grey.
People also often ask me what my favorite book is and I’m never sure how to answer that either. Picking a favorite book is kind of like picking a favorite child but speaking of favorite children if I had to pick a favorite book it would be One Child by Torey Hayden. That book is not literary fiction though. It’s not fiction at all. It’s the true story of a severely abused six-year-old girl who came in to the classroom of a dedicated special education teacher where she blossomed and proved to be a child genius. It was definitely the book that had the biggest emotional impact on me.
When I was a teenager I was really in to reading books about abused children but A Child Called It turned me off of those kinds of books. I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt pretty far when it comes to people having unbelievable life stories because I have some pretty unbelievable life stories myself but sorry, Dave Pelzer, you pushed the limits of credibility. I felt like an asshole for doubting him though because I know that the only thing worse than being abused as a child is having people think you’re lying about the abuse so, yeah, no more books about child abuse for me. They’re a bit too depressing anyway.
At first I was very opposed to e-readers but then I got one for Christmas and fell in love. I still have a certain loyalty to paper books though. For every three books I read on my Kindle I try to read one paper book but I don’t always stick to that resolution. There are are books I would prefer to read in paper format like the DSM. The DSM is very expensive though so I’ll have to wait until Christmas for the crazy.
I’ve heard people say that they enjoy having e-readers because they can read whatever they want without people judging them by the covers of their books. I don’t have to worry about being judged for what I’m reading anyway since I have such impeccable literary tastes but I will inevitably be asked “What are you reading?” I don’t generally mind answering that question but I’m currently reading a book called Spill Simmer Falter Wither. When people ask me what I’m reading I say “A book with a weird name.” They say “You don’t know the title of the book you’re reading? Look it up” so I do and they say “Oh, that is a weird title.”
As I mentioned in another blog post, I have a great memory for some things and a not so great memory for other things. With a few exceptions I don’t have the best memory for books. A few months ago I logged in to a Good Reads account that I hadn’t looked at for years. I realized that since I’d last updated that account, I’d re-read several of the books I had recorded there, thinking I was reading them for the first time. At the time I was participating in a book challenge for a message board I belonged to. One of the rules of that book challenge was that only books you’d never read before counted. I was upset to realize that I’d inadvertently cheated in the book challenge but now that I’ve been banned from that message board it doesn’t really matter. I think that was a stupid rule anyway. If you don’t remember anything about the book reading it for the second time is pretty much the same as reading it for the first time.
While some of my reading habits may be a bit bizarre, there’s nothing strange about enjoying reading. A lot of people like to read. Enjoying weeding on the other hand, may be strange in and of itself. It’s generally thought of as a hated chore but I love it. I don’t particularly enjoy picking up dog poo but cleaning Lily’s yard is so worth it because once I’m done picking up poo, I get to weed the yard. There’s something very satisfying about pulling those suckers up by the roots. I don’t really have anything else to say about my love for weeding but perhaps Freud would.
ETA: In case anyone is rolling their eyes at me being narcissistic enough to like my own blog post,I liked it by accident when I was trying to see the other bloggers who liked it. Liking my own blog post is like an author giving their own book a positive review.