I used to love books. Okay, I still love books. But these days is that I mainly just buy books and never actually bother reading them. There was a time when I would read a dozen books or so in the course of a summer. Unfortunately that time is long since past. Over the last few years I’ve created an ever expanding library of books I want to read, but “don’t have the time.” Because somehow in my mind watching that episode of “Seinfeld” with the caddy and the bra lady who’s the heiress to the O’Henry fortune for the 10th time is a much better way to end my evenings.
Last month I decided to push myself to pick up one of the many books I’d started reading and finally finish it. And so I read the last half of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. And you know what? It felt really good. And so afterward I picked up a novella (Coraline) by the same author, and knocked that off in a few days. Quite invigorating! Now I’m suddenly 50 pages into Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby and thoroughly enjoying my re-found intellect.
I’ve come to the realization that I really did miss reading. What a wonderful activity. And so I’ve decided to set a goal. Nothing too lofty. But I’m going to push myself to read at least 6 more books this year. That will barely make a dent in my reading list, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Besides, if I’m able to hit that total in a shorter time than I planned, I’ll just bump it up.
This feeling has been greatly encouraged by two other factors. Number one would be Lisa. Since I’ve started reading again, she’s decided she would, too. She’s taking books from my shelves, and putting all of that time commuting on the train to good use. Plus it’s nice to be able to discuss novels that we’ve both read, rather than just debating about “American Idol” all of the time!
The second factor would be the discovery of the Montclair Book Center. While wandering around town the other night looking for food, we happened open its store front. Holy crap, what a great find. The setup is incredible – long lines of shelves filled with an assortment of new and used material loosely organized by genres and names. The kind of system that leads to patrons losing themselves among the titles, forgetting what they even came in there for in the first place. But in the end, uncovering totally unexpected finds is far more interesting than merely picking up a copy of a recent release you can find at any chain (although the fact that they discount all books certainly helps in either case). I mean, where else am I going to find a $5 copy of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris without George Clooney’s mug on it?
Whether or not this leads to book reviews remains to be seen. But at the very least I will begin to chip away at my rather lengthy backlog of a reading list.