So many books I haven't read yet.
I'm surrounded by 'em, same as almost everyone I know. I know the wisdom of "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested," so some of those books flit in and out of my existence quickly, others have stayed with me since before I was an adult. (Example: my handle-with-care-or-it'll-fall-apart copy of Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion, first trade printing from 1987.)
My reading lately, however, has been slow. A lot slower than my standards. I try to read a book a week, or at least (to come close to that) four books a month. In 2004 I read 69 of them, though that was a year where I wasn't working anywhere near full-time. Since then, I've read -- let's see -- 52 books in 2005, 30 in 2006, 39 in 2007, 45 in 2008, 51 in 2009, and 45 again in 2010.
This year so far, in two-and-a-half months, I've read five. To be more exact, five-and-a-third, as I'm slowly whittling my way through the wilds of Dickens's Little Dorrit. GET FASTER, MIND. I want to speed up again, read and absorb all those words.
Part of it? There's been a lot on my mind beyond all those words. Also probably too much reading of online stuff, quick stuff, easy-to-digest short chunks. It was a relief recently that I started and breezed through a 450-page non-fiction book. Also, weirdly, reading a "quick read" of a book, say a Sue Grafton mystery, almost feels like cheating. Weird block to have. I can enjoy many lengths and thicknesses of books. I've done that before. Still, I can feel like it's taking me away from reading something weightier, that I'm devolving into reading Chauncey the Happy Corgi+. The point is, READ, CHRIS. It's possible.
(Interestingly, I got sympathy and understanding for my recent slowness from a friend who reads a book a day. "You're busy," she said.)
I want this to be a blip in my reading experience. A hiccup. I'll accept that most books won't get read by me, that I don't have to read them all. (I don't have to finish them either, especially when they're offensive pieces of crap.) Here's hoping that I devour more books than slog through them. My devour-to-slog ratio is still heavily weighted in favor of the devoured books, glad to say.
This is part of my attempt to regenerate my enthusiasm for reading. And my focus for it.
+ Not real. Also not related to my long-hoped-for children's book, Bandit the Rabid Schnauzer Goes To The Vet. (The audio book would be read by Jack Handey.)