Thursday, September 06, 2007

Reading Ramblings

I'm not sure quite when it began, but I've long had a passion for the written word. My mom will tell you I was reading at three years of age. I can't vouch for that but I do remember the huge cardboard cards she put around the house to get me started with sight words. When I was in grade school, I remember excusing myself from the table right after dinner and hiding out in the bathroom with a book! When she and I went to Ireland back in 1990, I swear we took 2 changes of clothes each and a suitcase full of books! I sneak out at work on my lunch hour (which is technically only 30 minutes), head for the parking lot behind the local Krispy Kreme and indulge, not in a "Hot Now" donut but in whatever book I have at hand. And to this day, I actually get slight heart palpitations if the day draws to a close without having had time to read!

I'm often more drawn to a book because of the author than the subject. I enjoy learning about the authors' lives, and will often try to read through several of an author's works before moving on. I'm a "cover to cover" reader; I enjoy every single page of a book, including the copyright page, prologue and especially the bibliography. I read one book recently which, although it was a good book, had no bibliography. The author chose to just quote his sources right in the text. I found that left me hanging a bit. In my opinion, one good book should lead to another.

I can tend to start too many books at once though and come up shy of finishing them. My friend Katrina has been hosting these reading challenges; the fall one is just around the corner. They've been a great way for me to discipline myself to finish more books. Last year I started keeping track of what I read here on my blog. And recently I discovered Shelfari, a really neat way to keep track of what I've read, what I'm reading and what I hope to read as well as see what other people are reading. If you get a chance, hop on over and check out my "shelf" and if you create one, feel free to add me as a friend so I can check yours out!

Over the past few years, I've come up with a few rules for myself where reading is concerned:

1. I borrow books when I can. This can be a drag when it comes to non-fiction, because it's really not appropriate to write in other people's books! That means I have to take notes. Which can turn out to be a good thing in the long run.
2. When I do buy a book, I must finish it before I can buy another. I can start another and I can borrow others, but no more buying until I finish what I've bought. That is precisely why I'm stuck on Founding Mothers right now!
3. I've been trying to write a review on all the non-fiction I read. I don't always get around to posting them here or on but I find I actually read better when I'm thinking of how I might share what I'm taking in.
4. Four, although it's an even number and even numbers are evil, seems to be the magic number for me - four books at a time. One by my bed, one in my bookbag or purse, one by my chair in the livingroom and the odd one here or there.
5. If the book's just not working for me, I'm not afraid to put it down. Rule #5 even supersedes Rule #2. Life's too short to read a really bad book!

And after this entirely too long and boring post, I'll bet you're glad I don't have comments enabled! And now I need to go . . . you guessed it . . . read!