Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Lists, of All Kinds.


The Book List.  Do you have one?  I have several. One is a list of the books I own and have (somewhere) in the house. This comes in especially handy when one of my kids needs a required book for school, not to mention when I nearly buy a third copy of a book I'm sure I want to read someday. Another is a list of books I want to buy or borrow from the library or trade for. A third is the list of books being published soon by writer friends and acquaintances, so that (hopefully) I'll remember to lend some support. Still another is a list of the books I need (and usually want) to read to prepare for an upcoming class or assignment.

Then there is the list I want to add – the List of Books I've Read This Year. Except for during my MFA program, this list has been missing from my life for decades. Growing up, I conscientiously kept a list of the books I read every year. I know many of my writing friends still do keep such a list and I don't know why I fell out of the habit, probably coinciding with completing college some ahem-something years ago.

As a reading obsessed child and teenager – way before blogging -- adding a book to the list was a source of pride and more; it was a way to document for myself that maybe all that reading was adding up to something, that I hadn't merely just been (as my mother often snarled) sitting on my butt. How I would love to be able to look back at those lists today!

As an adult who now interacts with words and writing every day, wanting to once again have a Books I've Read list may represent something else; I am not sure exactly what yet. However, I do know I want to read more (but doesn't everyone, except maybe my husband?). I mean a lot more, and list lover that I am, maybe a list of what I actually accomplished will be a motivator to keep up the reading pace.

Another reason I'm reviving the Books I've Read list is I enjoy adding to a list almost as much as I like crossing things off a to-do list. I like to watch a list grow when it means maybe I've grown a little too (isn't that what reading is really all about anyway?)

Finally, I think having a list will motivate me not to let too much time go by between finishing one book and starting another. Sure, there's that delicious time period when I close the back cover of one book and don't want to move on to another just yet; I want to remain in the world that author created for just a bit longer.

Problem is, if I linger too long, I get upset with myself for not starting that next book. So along with my new list is this new idea – I'm not to put a book on the just-read list until I've selected the next book to read and placed it, physically, in my path, for the following morning, say. This is easier said than done because there are so very many books piled on my To Be Read shelf and because often I need to gauge what kind of mood I'm in at the end of one book before choosing the next.

I don't plan to post the list here (who needs that?), but on more frequent occasions than in the past I'm probably going to mention what book just made it on to the list. 

(Note to those who receive posts via email:  No, I don't have a balky space bar on my computer. Blogger and Feedburner are having a problem with the spacing between words. I'm trying out a few suggested fixes, but my powers are limited, so I'm hoping the tech folks get this sorted out soon. Thanks to those who sent emails to alert me.)

1 comment:

Maddy said...

I also have a huge reading list which is always growing. [A good reminder to update 'goodreads.'] It's also getting worse now that I've subscribed to the BBC podcast also called good reads.