Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Books and More Books

Three books, that couldn't be more different from one another, are currently in a sort of race with the clock before it strikes in the new year. I always read at least two books concurrently, often three and sometimes more. At year's end I'm usually in competition with myself since I have been keeping a record of every book I read since the year I graduated from college. [No, I'm not going to admit when that was but it would be easily estimated].

That year I made a resolution that I have kept all this time: to read as many books as possible each year -- with the goal of 100 or more -- so as to not let my college education be the end of education for me. It hasn't been, not by any means. I believe I reached 100 only once. I think the low point was 45 back in the throes of my 30s. For the last 20 or 25 years I've averaged in the 60s. For the most part these have been good books. I do not read genre fiction of any sort and very rarely read anything that might be called self-help. They are literary books: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. Along with them I read lots of magazines, some just for the eye candy [Architecture Digest, Vogue]. Most for information.

At the moment the three vying to be finished are a fat Collected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska which I'm loving but not allowing myself to zip through, but am savoring. The Druids, a slow academic book with too many references by Peter Berresford Ellis from which I am learning a great deal I did not know about Druids and Celts and the 1000 year periods of European history on either side of the Roman empire. Finally, and the one that will probably be finished, Death of a Hornet by one of Cape Cod's best known -- and most accomplished -- nature writers, Robert Finch. This is a collection of essays, some only a couple of pages and others longer. All three books are giving me a great deal of pleasure, each in a very distinctively different way. My reading is nothing if not eclectic. So what's the total this year to which probably only one will be added? 76. This is the most in about 12 years. Being retired suits my reading habits very well.

2 comments:

Kass said...

You really have diverse interests. I guess that's why you're so interesting.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- you are a very disciplined person. To think that you have kept a contract with yourself since college. I keep track of my books in notebooks that cover only the last several years. I sometimes write a very short review after I have read the book -- mostly I just rate the book with a number 1 to 10. the number system is so I won't reread a book I did not especially like.

Congrads on your number 76. I only read literary books, mostly research types, but not even close to the number of 76. Just made a New Years resolution after reading your post -- I will try to read 50 books for 2011. Whew, hope I can make it.