When you get to my age your “To Be Read List” becomes an insidious beast mocking you every time you walk from one room to another, laughing scornfully as you frantically look from pile to pile, bookshelf to bookshelf. A sneaky voice sounding for all the world like Worm Tongue reminds you every time you see a book that you are not getting any younger. Time is running out.
You toy with various attacks to rid yourself of the monster. Maybe you could slay him by committing to no new book purchases until you read every single book you already own? Of course, this is ridiculous. The minute you make this promise, you will immediately be impelled to buy a newly published book about CS Lewis. You cannot possibly resist buying this book although you will quite possibly never read it.
Often I gather all the piles into one pile hoping that I will then work my way systematically through “it” rather than the more intimidating “them.” Eventually, I have to move that pile to make room for a new one.
And don’t even ask me about my Kindle. Just this morning I purchased a new Kindle book even though I swore a blood oath not to buy any more until I had read every single book already loaded on it. I even have twenty books and courses waiting in my audio queue and, yes, I added a new book to that list this week though I had promised myself that twenty audiobooks were plenty
I learned something else this year. When you write a book, you don’t have very much time for reading. That is why I am nine books behind for the year on Goodreads. If only I could count the ninety-nine times I reread my own manuscript.
Here is my latest strategy. I am going to share my book piles with you, hoping this affords me some sort of accountability.
On my bedside table sit:
- Homeric Moments by Eva Brann
- Heroes of the City of Man by Peter Leithart
- and ironically The Envy of Eve by Melissa B Kruger
On my dresser sit books set aside for school reading:
- Home Geography for the Primary Grades by C. C. Long (Blue Sky Daisies)
- Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason (Blue Sky Daisies)
- Exercises in Dictation by F. Peel (Blue Sky Daisies)
- Natural Science Through the Seasons by James A. Partridge
- The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws
Moving to my reading spot in the living room we have:
- Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson (A true Diary of WWII London which had been too expensive for me until I found it at Oxfam Oxford. Yes, I said Oxfam Oxford just like people do in British books sometimes.)
- Hamish Groat’s End Walk by Hamish Brown (Bought at the Armitt Museum’s used bookstore. Ambleside, UK)
- The Fellowship, The Literary Lives of the Inklings by the Zaleskis
- The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (I am finally making progress on this one which is Book 2 in the Jewel in the Crown series)
The pile I moved to the side of a bookshelf refusing to re-shelve because:
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre (Because David Kern)
- Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (Because Jeannette Tulis)
- Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford (Because she was a PNEU girl)
- Dubliners by James Joyce (Because Ulysses was so awful)
- Good Owners, Great Dogs by Brian Kilcommon and Sarah Wilson (Because Max)
- On Literature by Umberto Eco (Because he died)
- A Year in The World by Frances Mayes (Because I forgot I already read it)
- Surprised by Joy by CS Lewis (Because someone was trying to steal it)
- The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser (Because of The Mason Jar interview with Katie Hudgins)
- Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff (Because ENGLAND)
Downloaded to my Kindle:
- Resilience by Eric Greitens
- The Songs of Jesus by Timothy and Kathy Keller
- Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
- The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
- Penmarric by Susan Howatch (Nostalgia)
- The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes
- Brain Rules by John Medina
- Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
- A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte
- Start Here by Brandy Vencel
- A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel DeFoe
And five in my audiobooks:
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
- The Lake House by Kate Morton
- Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang
- King Arthur: History and Legend by The Great Courses (Dorsey Armstrong)
- The Skeptic’s Guide to American History by TGC Mark A Stoler
Consider this post a confession. Now you might understand what my brain goes through when you ask the simple question: What are you reading? That blank stare is information overload—circuits burning. What am I reading? How long do you have? How long do I have?
My own book is on its way to the printer. I can now start clipping away at this list of almost forty books before the end of the year. My competitive spirit will not quite let me forget that Goodreads goal. Maybe I will catch up on all the books I want to read before I die! Hope and insanity spring eternal.
Remember, he who dies with the longest booklist wins, right?