Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Officer's Log No 37: The Book Madness Commences...

My book list has thinned itself out, and just as quickly, it resumes its towering stance, and mocks my fruitless efforts to whittle it down to a manageable state of affairs.

I have finally caught up on two of the book series I was devouring, Karen Traviss' excellent Gears of War military science fiction novels (seriously, Traviss is an incredible writers. Check her out. Go, go, go!) and Anton Strout's Simon Canderous books, which are urban fantasy mysteries with bureaucracy and a firm tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Having caught up on these two series allows me to look at all the rest. What I come to the conclusion of with regard to my book collection is that a number of the books on my shelves are titles that I simply don't read.

I have found this to be the true test of the bibliophile's spirit: I make lists of books that I'll want to read; sometimes, should I find the book for a reasonable price, I will procure it and add it to the ever-growing horde. The issue is when I get to that book's place in the Towering Would-Be Inferno, I find that my interest has waned or vanished altogether, thereby making that book a waste of space.

And I hate that.

It's truly the test of the bibliophile's spirit and interest when a book is taking up space, desiring to be read, and yet the reader has no interest.

It's not the first time this has happened to me. I've taken to reacquiring some books I fondly recall from childhood only to go back and read them for a few pages before relegating them to the 'Nostalgia' pile. It's a sad state of affairs when the bookseller can't even get into an old book.

Perhaps that's why the book list thins. I find that my reading time is valuable to me, and if I can have the time to read, I want to read something worthwhile. Even if I deign to read something that could be construed by myself and others as 'junk food fiction' (I have no shame about my love for this genre, and all it entails [mysery, science fiction / fantasy, trashy YA]), I still am somewhat picky: the book can be all kinds of bad for me, but I still want it to taste good.

Junk Food Fiction = spicy hot chocolate from the Java House (hot chocolate, cinnamon, whipped cream, cayenne pepper, and a chili pepper placed in the cream). It's delicious, terrible for me, and I'll probably regret it later, but it sure tastes good at the time.

So, despite my reading time being valuable, I haven't spent it reading classics this summer. I intended to attack the Russian novelists, but found my attention being grabbed by other novels and writers, most of whom were not classics, and suffered that terrible burden of still breathing. My intention was to continue my summer attempt at reading the major works of a certain country's writers; this didn't happen. So Dostoyevsky will probably be devoured sometime in November; I was informed that this is a good month in which to read dead Russians.

Book lists are unique to each person; I've seen countless people wander through the shop with lists in hand, either on paper or on a phone. Some people fill their reading lists with long dead Germans and Brits. I fill my reading list with contemporary politics, military history, and the odd urban fantasy vampires-are-bad-guys-oh-my novel.

And sometimes there's a contemporary political military history novel with vampires as the bad guys. That novel was called 'The Nymphos of Rocky Flatts' by Mario Acevedo. It's hilarious.

Hey. Don't judge.

Until next time, fellow bibliophiles.

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