Sunday, July 8, 2007

Down to One Book

After several weeks, if not months, of being on my "What I Am Reading Now" list, three titles have finally been taken off. It's not that I'm never going to get around to reading them (I say this especially to encourage a certain friend who loaned me The Pillars of the Earth with her strongest possible endorsement). It's just that I keep deciding to read something else first, and the bookmark stuck in it at about page 54 hasn't moved in so long that I've started to miss it. The bookmark, I mean. I never seem to be able to find one when I need it.

I am a bookaholic. I know I have a problem. I don't particularly want to get better. It only really gets annoying when (a) I run out of room on my shelf for new books, (b) I run out of money to buy new books, and (c) I feel compelled to run out to Borders or B&N at an inconvenient time because I just HAVE to buy such-and-such book.

One of the vicissitudes of my addiction is that I can't predict, or even really control, which book I will fall into. Sometimes I will be genuinely enjoying a book or series of books, and suddenly I will be reading something else and it may be YEARS before I read my way around to where I left off. I stopped reading Little Dorrit in mid-sentence, in the middle of a serious Dickens jag, when I discovered Harry Potter and read the whole series 3 times in a row; then I went back to Dickens as if I had never left it. When I resigned from my second parish in January 2004, I was in the middle of re-reading Lewis's That Hideous Strength. Whether because I wasn't really enjoying it, or because of the painful circumstances in which I was last reading it, I haven't picked up that book to this day. I still consider myself to be reading The Thirteen Gun Salute by Patrick O'Brian, but it has been tucked on my shelf for a long time. I anticipate needing a break from young readers' fantasy in the near future; and then I will probably chew through the rest of the Aubrey-Maturin novels like a weevil through a ship's biscuit.

So I have repossessed my bookmarks from Georgia Byng, Ken Follett, and Jim Butcher. I seriously intend to go back to them. But let's face it, every time I finish one book, another one falls off my shelf and hits me on the head, and I can't see straight until I've read it; anything else with a bookmark in it is condemned to lie on my dresser, untouched. Its only hope is to go back to the edge of my shelf where it can fall on me a second time. Hopefully the next time I won't leave it in my briefcase or in the trunk of my car, so that another book sneaks up on me before I finish it.

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