August 27, 2009

Books I Will Read Before I Die

Some things carry forward from earliest childhood. I love books, fiction to escape and experience other realities, non-fiction to learn and wonder. I read a lot, and often have a couple of reads on the go at the same time. And yet there is a mountain of books beside my bed. The mountain has become a mountain range, having spread to the guest room.

So if I read so much, why is the pile of Books I Will Read Before I Die always getting bigger? It's not just the reading - its the researching about books, from following favourite authors, to cruising the amazon website, the wandering aimlessly through bookstores, where there is always something new and exciting to discover. I read somewhere that this is a Gemini thing, that we want to explore a little bit of everything, so the intake of books, newspapers, magazines, TV news, etc, is more than we could ever truly consume. Thoughts?

So the intake of books grows because I collect them faster than I can read them.

What's in the mountain? There are probably books I think I should read like that Pulitzer-prize winning John Adams biography, because it is smart and true. And there are some books I know I won't read like the Iliad, because its not really a book, it's a long boring epic poem about historic battle scenes. And some I have read and probably shouldn't have bothered, like that Tori Spelling one. And there are books I really do want to read and will get to some day before I die, like Sacred Games which got amazing reviews for its insight and interest.

So this week I started one of the bigger books on the mountain, Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed". He's a smart and funny writer, and 200 pages in, it's a great read so far, crammed full of humour, life, death, marital infidelity, joy, women's prisons, the Columbine shooting, elderly lesbians, and lots of other stuff. Maybe too much, with 500 pages to go.

And the mountain will continue to grow; yesterday at the airport waiting to board my plane home, I emailed myself a list of five interesting looking books I saw at the Waterstone store. Has anyone read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Here we go again...


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