Monday, April 21, 2008

So Many Books, So Little Time

In So Many Books, So Little Time, Sara Nelson shares her enthusiasm for books and reading. I think this is a book that book lovers would be able to relate to very well. Nelson calls herself a "rabid book devourer" and a readaholic.

In this book, she chronicles her reading adventure and her goal: to read a book a week for a year (that's 52 books), "matching up the reading experience with the personal one and watching where they intersect -- or don't." She draws up a reading list but she doesn't stick to it 100 per cent (I think this happens to all, if not most of us). At the end of the book you would find a plan versus read list. I love the way she 'pesters' her Japanese-American husband to read a memoir that she could totally relate to and one that helps her understand her husband better. That reminded me of the same I did: telling my husband he musn't miss Charlotte's Web, one of the best children's books around because he is a children's book editor.

As I go through the book, I am being introduced to authors I've never heard of but eager to check them out. I ended up placing orders for a few titles such as the following (some of which are out-of-prints):

  1. A Home at the End of the World: A Novel by Michael Cunningham
  2. Love Junkie by Robert Plunket
  3. Life and Loves of a She Devil by Fay Weldon
  4. How Boys See Girls by David Gilmour
  5. A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins
  6. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
  7. Floater by Calvin Trillin
  8. Atticus by Ron Hansen
  9. 79 Park Avenue by Harold Robbins
  10. Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs

I cannot help nodding in agreement or exclaiming "Me too!" when I read the following, quoting Nelson directly:

  • The busier I've gotten over the years -- the more family and work activities, the more friends to keep up with, the more duties of adulthood and parenthood, the more, well, life -- the more, not less, I've read. (Note: Parenthood doesn't really apply to me)
  • [...] I know I will find comfort and joy and excitement the minute I get home to my book [...]
  • Part of the appeal of books, of course, is that they're the cheapest and easiest way to transport you from the world you know into one you don't.
  • If I don't like it, I stop reading. [...] Letting myself off the hook has been beneficial in any number of ways, not the least of which is that it gives me more time to devote to the books I actually do like.
  • Poor me. I have too many choices.
  • When things go right in my life, I read. When things go wrong, I read more. [...] I escape into books.
  • So I'm generally not much of a fan of the book revisit: [...]. And life is short: why waste time on something you already know, when you can discover something exciting and new?
  • I have this habit of turning down corners of pages that contain something I like. Sometimes I'll write in a book, but I try to avoid it. (I do this to my books all the time!)
  • Hell hath no fury like an expectant reader scorned.
  • [...] reading is organic and fluid and pretty unpredictable, based as much on mood and location and timing as anything else.

The New Yorker was right when it says this: "Will make many readers smile with recognition: the false importance of an overhyped book, the recommendation from a friend that makes you think less of your friend, and, most dreaded of all, the book you feel guilty for not having read." Book junkies, don't miss this!