Being somewhat pathetic, I keep a list of the books I read every year. I know, I know: this is sad and of no interest to anyone else but myself, however, I just thought I’d share my eccentricity with you.
What is even more pathetic is that I’m such a bookworm, I can often recall exactly in which year I read a particular book, the name of its author and rattle of a synopsis of the plot or main hypothesis (non-fiction) without the aid of the list. Tragically, I can name characters (if it’s fiction) and give some justification of why I did or didn’t like the book based on variables such as:
The book was written by Robert Jordan or a clone, in which case every female character acts like a 12 year old girl, there is no sex and the books will contain more detail about women’s clothing than Vogue. (I’ll be honest. I gave up reading Robert Jordan at Book 4 of WoT because it was so goddamn boring!)
All action and no characterisation (ie. book is written by Dan Brown or Matthew Reilly -however, these make great audiobooks for long drives)
Is written by Kate Elliott, Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell or Terry Pratchett, in which case the book is going to be very good (although Cell by Stephen King wasn’t his best)
Is about climbing mountains (especially Mt Everest)
Is travel lit, especially about long walks
Is Jane Austen or some other irrelevant pretentious twaddle that Gen-X females gobble up, in which case I already know I am going to hate it.
Is a quirky social science/psychology book, like Freakonomics or Snoop
Contains thought-provoking or profound ideas: the Snow Leopard, The Hand Maid’s Tale, American Gods, The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness spring to mind in this category
By now, I hope you’re getting the idea that I really know what I like when it comes to books (and I’m an über-nerd). Anyway, around June this year, I did something different. I set myself an arbitrary target of 30 books to read this year.
Two days ago, I achieved this target. And I must admit, have blithely continued onto book number 31!
Whilst this might be absolutely insignificant to you, it is all-pervasively important to me. You see, my ability to read and enjoy is evidence to myself (and myself alone) that I have finally recovered from depression and have my life back in order.
In other words, after 5 years I am finally whole again.
In my darkest hour, I read a paltry 9 books in a single year. Throughout these years, I averaged twelve books. Given my love of reading -I’ve been this way since I was a wee babe- reading only 9 books in a year says something is wrong, wrong wrong. Thus the profundity of my return to form.
Of course, you know that when I get old, I am probably going to become one of those little old ladies who lives with 300 white cats (that inevitably get skin cancer on their ears, have to have them cut off and end up look like possums).
As I mentioned in my 7 quirks post, I could read before I went to primary school. I love reading but definitely couldn’t say I read 30 books a year! And most of what I read is yoga related. That and biographies or mythology and so on. In fact I wrote another post called “What is your bookshelf theme?” or something like that… just trying to feel out what people read and if they read in ‘themes’. I certainly do.
I’m so glad to hear you say you’ve found a way out of depression.
Its something I’m a little scared of – that I won’t. Ofcourse, I do know everything is temporary but some kinds of temporary can take longer than others… anyways! When I first had dealings with depression (this time around) and PTSD I was confident it would all be over soon.
Three years on, and I’m still dealing although I have to admit things are definitely much better than they were. Much! The depression still lingers although I appear to have kicked the PTSD in the head. Can’t tell you how exciting that is!
Cats yeah. I might end up like that too although I’d have all kinds of animals I think! Or, I’ll just end up being a little old lady living in the wilds of north-eastern Thailand, smiling benefically at the young yogis and yoginis…
I’ve read more than thirty books lots of years (though this year won’t be one of them–damn blogging) but, for the most part, can’t approach your powers of recall. I remember before taking qualifying exams for my PhD, looking over the list of 200 or something books that I might be asked about and thinking “I can swear that I read them (or, at least, most of them), but can’t remember a damn thing about any of them….” (As it turned out, I had far more grace under pressure than expected).
I have friends who’d kill you for that Jane Austen remark. Fortunately, they live a long, long way away from you.
My definition of hell: a room full of Jane Austen and Robert Jordan novels …