Sunday, December 30, 2007

Will, won't and will try

It sometimes depresses me that I've never met anyone with my exact taste in books. Here's the problem: I refuse to read exclusively within a genre. I've helped people select reading material at the library for over ten years, so I can safely say that most people tend to stay with the same genre/author/writing style without ever straying.

While I also have genres/authors/writing styles that I gravitate towards, they're so diverse I'm too difficult to pin down as a reader. I have a huge thirst for knowledge and I'm always fascinated by people and things. That's probably why as I child I read Anne of Green Gables and Egyptology books side-by-side. Some things never change. To give you an idea of what I like, last year I read romance, biography, science, mystery, fantasy, art, history (fiction and non-fiction), children's, YA, chick lit, reference, classics and travel books. And those are just the ones I can think of.

Yet I'm also quite deficient in some areas. I have yet to read an Oprah book all the way through and I tend to stand clear of them as a rule. I'm hopelessly lacking many, many classics (Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye...) I used to read Christian fiction back when I was young and pious, but I probably haven't picked up a Janette Oke in fifteen years. I'm actually kind of curious about some of the recent ones my patrons raved about, so I may even try one this year. I've never read a western, but who knows, I may step outside my comfort zone and try Longarm and the Wicked Schoolmarm. There's a lot of fantasy/sci-fi I'm not very acquainted with, notably Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I also avoid "popular" books like the plague (Danielle Steel, John Grisham, etc.) and I get bored silly by all the "gritty" police/crime/thrillers that are out there. But once again, I may give some a try just to see what all the fuss is about. I'm lookin' at you, Janet Evanovich.

The "why" post

Many years ago, while I was still in school, I used to read like nobody's bidness. My teacher would write on my report card that I was rushing through my assignments too quickly - so I could read. So what if the only reason I wanted to go to the mall was to get more books? So what if I was deprived of cable, Nintendo and all the other hallmarks of a 90's childhood? Some of the best people I knew were in books.

All this changed during my six years of university. Studying and a surprising new social life curbed the habit. My book-a-week habit dwindled to (maybe) a book-a-month. I also got distracted by the siren call of the Internet (the Never-Ending Student Time Waster) and TV (I had cable for the first time. No more Peasant Vision, 3-channel death for me!)

This made me sad. This made me depressed. Something was missing from my life. Then it dawned on me: books were a whole lot of awesome piled on more awesome, topped by awesome sauce. Why was I letting them gather dust on the shelves? I worked as a library manager for a year and suddenly I was discovering even more books that I hadn't, and wasn't, reading. And still, I was lazy.

So it's come to this. My New Year's resolutions for 2008.

1) I'm going to tackle the huge backlog of books on my shelves that I've neglected for so long. To do this, I'll cut back on TV and read more books than I ever thought I could, and titles that I never thought I would.

2) To give me a boost in the rear, I'm going to write about every single book in a blog. If no one else reads this, I don't care. A year from today, I'm going to see if I'm more satisfied with my life.