Friday, January 06, 2012

I read, therefore I am

My friend Suzanne introduced me to Goodreads a while ago - Maybe even a couple of years ago.  I love it because it finally helps me organize my reading life.  Before I would hear about some book that I wanted to read, but I wouldn't write it down and I would totally forget about it - there were even times when I would wander around a bookstore looking for something and not being at all sure about what I should choose.  Goodreads has eliminated that problem from my life forever.  It has a nice way of letting you keep track of your "to-read" which I randomly pick up from a multitude of places.  NPR and National book reviews, the year end lists that many of the newspapers print, word of mouth, reviews of friends, Amazon's recommended reading - I can now keep track of all of these things in one tidy spot.

But this has created a new problem for me.  It makes me think about my impending mortality.

I am not one to worry about aging and not one to worry much about dying either.  It's never really been in my nature to be that person.  And people that obsessively worry about those things bother me, mainly because I feel like they're sucking the joy out of living TODAY rather than worry so much about a day when they won't be living.  Living in the now is good when it means learning to enjoy what is.

But last year I read 55 books.  This seems like a lot to some people.  It probably is.  Part of this is being a single woman I can read in bed, which I could not do when I was married.  And I've taken to carrying a book with me wherever I go.  And I honestly prefer it over television most of the time.  So it's not that hard for me to make room for about 50 books a year.  But here's the problem - my "to read" list is now up to 248 books.

That's about 5 years in books.

And I keep adding them!

And I really don't like to think about that!  For lots of reasons.  It makes me question whether what I'm putting on the 'to read' shelf are really the absolute best choices I could be making.  It makes me a little anxious to think about.  And it makes me realize that no matter what I do - no matter how hard I try - I will never be able to finish every book on my Goodreads list before I die.  No matter what I do I will die with some list of around 200 books that I never got to.

I told Holden this morning that I was obsessing about this a little, and he told me that when I die he will take the book I had at the top of my 'to read' list and he will tuck it into my coffin so I have something to read.

I liked the sentiment of that, even if it does entail me thinking about my eventual demise.

I guess I have to keep adding books to the list though, because now I have a sneaking suspicion that finishing my 'to read' list would result in instant death.

I hope there is room for reading in the after-life.

I can't imagine a happy existence without it.

*all book covers are book's I've YET to read!


Suzanne Barker said...

You nut!! Too funny. I think if you stop adding to your to read list you might worry that there is something wrong with you. And sometimes, I reconsider a book that I've added..maybe I don't really want to read it. Another one of the good things about goodreads...When it's time to pick up a new book, I use the ratings and reviews to prioritize what's next. That helps me think I am spending my time with the best books I can.

Cynthia said...

That is funny. But I worry too. There are more good books being written every day than I have time to read. And I don't read nearly as much as you. Maybe 18 or 20 a year. But how will we ever get to all the good books out there???
btw - I read "Stiff". Loved it.


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