Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Too Many Books Spoil The ?

Sadly and much to my dismay I couldn't think of a witty and clever rhyming word to chuck in the title. If I was prone to dressing in dark clothes and listening to Joy Division a lot I could have used the word "goth" and you'd have no doubt chuckled at my wordy dexterity. Nor am I a moth. or a cloth even, so we're left with a question mark. Feel free to submit a suggestion if you have one.

Reading is one of my most enjoyed activities. I do it voraciously and have done for many years. I read all sorts of things; books, both fiction and that other boring type, magazines, blogs and just about anything else you can think of that displays the written or the virtual word. There's rarely a point in my life when I don't have at least one fictional book, one non fictional one and a couple of magazines on the go.

My Kindle has been one of the best presents I've ever received, enabling me to carry around a huge volume of books wherever I go. Currently it has forty one of the virtual books on board and, according to those nice Amazon people, that means it will hold another thousand or more before it gives up the ghost.

Yet lately, say in the last month or so, I've been struggling to find that enthusiasm to read. I've munched my way through a few decent novels, Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby and Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh are two that were particularly memorable, but am now failing to feel that attraction, that can't put it down because I NEED to find out what happens next feeling that a good book instills.

As well as the Kindle I've got more than twenty proper books, those ones made out of paper, wood and the environment, waiting patiently on the shelves for me. The Chinaman is firmly placed at number one in that group, yet all I've done so far is read a couple of pages and thought that it sounds as fantastic as all you lot say it is.

I've been wondering why I've failed to find the big motivation to read. I don't think that lack of time is a viable excuse as I often read in bed or in those in between moments and I do get quite a lot of time alone, when C or the girls aren't around.

Earlier today I discovered something on the Kindle that I didn't realise it could do; collections. Yes I can make a collection, give it a name and then chuck books into it. Until my discovery I thought that all the books had to be listed individually, though I knew that they could be sorted in several different ways.

I played around with the feature for a bit, making a Terry Pratchett collection and bunging the TP books in there. Then, getting a bit more confident and serious about things, I made two more collections. One is called "Fiction Read" and the other called "Currently Reading". Why I called it "Fiction Read" instead of "Read Fiction" I'm not sure about, but it made sense at the time.

As time marches on I reckon I'll categorise a bit more, perhaps making a management collection, though I might call it "Mgmt" or even "Mgmnt" and maybe a self help section. I might throw in a "Fiction not read" and might get rid of the Terry P section as the principle of filing by author runs in contradiction to that of filing by genre. It seems that each book can only go in one collection so the five TP books I have, though read, nay devoured, are in the TP collection rather than the "Fiction read" one. I'm a rebel like that.

The thing is though, the "Currently Reading" collection has eleven, yes eleven titles in it. Four of them I'd class as self help, three I consider "Mgmnt" and four are firmly in the fiction category.

As I look at them I realise that there are too many, that's the crux of my problem, I'm spreading myself too thinly, with the result that I can't focus on one book. Compounding the problem is the fact that I'm quite enjoying every single one of them and therefore reluctant to put any on the back burner.

Do I persevere with the magnificent eleven, knowing that I may well end up not remembering any of them that well, or do I choose a few to put on the back burner and come back to later?

Vut too doo?


Charlene said...

I don't have a Kendle or Nook or iPad but read real books and love it. There are periods of time every year when I don't read for a while. I don't know why and it doesn't seem to be seasonal or weather related. I just think I have too many words in my head and a few have to dribble out!

As remembering books. I have friends who remember the plots, characters and their names as well as the ability to quote portions. I'm not one of those.

PseudoRandom said...

I dunno how people can read more than one fictional novel at a time. When I read fiction, I immerse myself in the story. I fill in the gaps that the author has left - the layout of houses not described, the weather, the clothes, the accents etc. This means it'd be a huge effort to simultaneously get into multiple books.

As for dealing with your situation, I'd say that if you're reading a book that you don't mind pausing in order to read another book in the same genre, then it's probably not worth reading.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Charlene - My main criteria for judging whether a book is one of my absolute favourites or not is whether I can remember it afterwards. Of course, being a man, I struggle to remember most of them!

Pseudo - Gosh, I think I'm guilty of doing the opposite with fiction. I often scan the pages too much as I'm so keen to find out what will happen next. One of my problems with fiction is that, even with books I think are crap, I usually want to finish them to find out what the complete story is. I think that might be some sort of reader's immaturity.

Anonymous said...

...spoil the sloth?

David Blacker said...

I think I'm pretty much like you in my reading habits -- I'm usually reading three books at a given time -- non-fiction, couple of fiction, and the odd magazine. But, like you, I discover that my currently "being read" list has gone up to eight -- most of which are non-fiction. And I think I'm just fooling myself. In actuality, I probably won't finish a few of those books. Ever. But I hate to admit that I find a book too boring to continue, or that I've just lost interest in the topic -- so I pretend I'm still reading it.

Current "being read" list (in no particular order):

The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This (Luke Sullivan)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
President Down (Terrence Strong)
The Battle for Spain (Antony Beevor)
Trigger Men (Hans Halberstadt)
The War Against Cliche (Martin Amis)
Born to be Riled (Jeremy Clarkson)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Wow DB, that's a long list to get through. Catch 22 is on my list of must read soons. In fact it has been there for quite a while!

David Blacker said...

I've been "reading" LOTR for about five years, and Catch-22 for almost ten :)

If you think that's a lot of books, RD, you should see how many I've on the "waiting" list.

magerata said...

If you like Kindle, then you are a good candidate for iPad. I tried Kindle but it failed to kindle me. Then I got this iPad thing to make my school stuff easier than the laptop/tablet I was carrying around. Life has changed somewhat. Even though I lug around 1.3KG "Anathem" by N.Stephenson, I am beginning to like reading on iPad, at least technical books, which I could easily cut and paste into my school work and pretend I am intelligent. But that is short lived dream as our campus plagiary detection system points out how exactly intelligent I am. Next time Go to an Apple Store, Play with iPad, specially the books, I am pretty sure that you might walk out with one of them iPads!