So Many Books, So Little Time

But they never seem to be the right books.

I have a problem: I’m addicted to books. I must have mentioned this somewhere else in this blog, but I really don’t feel like searching.

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been picking up books here and there and stacking them on my beside table for reading. The stack is now as high as the lamp there.

I’m in the middle of reading two books:

  • The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and ReadersThe Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers by Ayn Rand (which I’m sure I discussed here) is not exactly stimulating reading. Although Rand has some good, solid advice for writers about characterization and plot, it’s pretty obvious to me that she’s the only author who ever followed that advice. And I have to admit that I’m getting a little tired of her bashing the work of other writers (Sinclair Lewis comes to mind) and praising her own. Talk about big ego!
  • 100 Ways America Is Screwing Up the World100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World by John Tirman is downright depressing. I picked this book up in Canada, where it was a featured book on a shelf just as I came into the store — shows you what Canadians think of us — and I started reading it, mostly to see if I agreed or disagreed with what the author said. Not only do I agree with most of it, but he’s shed a lot of new light on a lot of topics. Yesterday’s chapters on dictators we’ve befriended over the years made me pretty sick. I don’t think I want to read any more.

Obviously, I need something lighter to read.

The other books on my night table are a mixture of political commentaries and current bestselling novels, such as Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (loaned to me back in May by an editor). I don’t think any of these books will be lighter.

I just checked my Wish List, the place I store books I want to read in the future. I hope to get many of them from the library, so I don’t have to buy them, but I have such a dismal record of returning books late that I’m embarrassed to go in there. Besides, a few of the titles you’ll find on that list are not likely to make their way into the public library of a conservative town like Wickenburg.

Unless, of course, I buy them, read them, and donate them when I’m done. Which is pretty much my plan for some of the titles.

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, A HistoryBut there are a few other titles that qualify as light reading that I know my library doesn’t have. One of them is The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, A History by Lewis Buzbee. I read about it in an independent bookstore newsletter back in May and put it on my list. Unfortunately, it’s on my list and not on my table.

That’s the problem. I put books on my list when I hear about them and they sit there. Once in a while, when I have to buy something else at Amazon (most recently, a pair of batteries for my DustBuster), I add a book to the order to qualify for free shipping. But I always seem to order the wrong book — just another one for the pile — and not the one I feel like reading when I have time to read.

Your Own WordsOne of my recent acquisitions is a book called Your Own Words by Barbara Wallraff. It’s yet another one of the books about words and language that I like to wade through. I heard of Ms. Wallraff on a podcast that I may have mentioned in another blog entry. Slate had a contest for euphemisms and Ms. Wallraff was involved in the judging. That got me interested in her work (that was the point, wasn’t it?) and I decided to give this title a try. Maybe I’ll read it next.

If you have any suggestions for some light, intelligent reading, don’t keep it to yourself. Use the comments link to make a suggestion. Keep in mind that I like books I can learn something from. Or books that make me think.

2 thoughts on “So Many Books, So Little Time

  1. Two things:

    1] just yesterday I was listening to an interview with the founder of BookMooch – a book swapping idea that sounds pretty good:

    The only cost is postage.

    2] Do you enjoy mysteries? I really enjoy Marcia Muller’s books, about a private detective called Sharon McCone. They’re intelligent and a darned good read. (I see the books are available at BookMooch.)



  2. Bookmooch! I decided to give it a try. I signed up for an account and, since I’m at the office (rather than at home) I listed some books from my inventory of author copies. Within 5 minutes (no exaggeration!) I got a request for our WordPress book from someone in Phoenix! Then I went into my Wish list to see what was there and searched BookMooch. I found one of the titles. So I requested it. Let’s see if this works! Thanks for sharing this.

    As for mysteries — yes, I do like them. You must be familiar with Ngaio Marsh — her books are based in New Zealand. I read just about all of them years ago. I was working on PD James with books from the library when I suddenly got library-shy. I’ll check out Marcia Muller’s work — maybe through Bookmooch, once I build up a few more points.

What do you think?