Sunday, December 28, 2008

So many books, so little time


I may have mentioned before that I like books. Maybe once or twice, right? The picture above shows just a mere portion of our collection. And yes, that is a map of Middle Earth on the wall, thank you. Wherever we've lived we've had to reserve one whole room for the books. Sometimes I go in that room to read. Sometimes I go in there just to gaze lovingly at the shelves and maybe pull out an old favorite and give it a little hug and kiss before putting it back.

People have asked me, "Why do you have to KEEP them all?"
"Don't you know you can go to the library and get any book you want, read it, then return it for free?"
"You lose an entire room of your house this way! Why do you give up that much space just for books!?"
To those people I say:
"I keep them all because it's a collection. To 'collect' something means to 'keep' it."
"Yes, I am aware of this amazing place you call a library. I like them and use them sometimes, but thanks anyway for explaining to me how they work."
"What else should I put in that room besides books? I don't collect anything else."
Or, and this one is said with a very condescending tone:
"Unless you're a book lover, you wouldn't understand. It's okay."

At this time I've completed 68 books for the year so far. I still have another, what, four days? I don't know what day it is, but I think New Year's Eve is on Thursday, right? So I started another book last night and I can see finishing that one today or tomorrow and then if I squeeze another one in there, I'll hit 70. There's no real reason I need to hit 70 except that I like nice round numbers. Either way, I'm really happy I started this book list thing and I'll keep doing it now, hopefully forever. It's interesting to look back and see what I've read over the last year. I could list them all here...but I won't. You're welcome. Instead, I'll list a few writers who I found this year, thank you reading gods:

Lynda Barry - Found her when one of my favorite bloggers talked about her; I read two books by her this year and hope to one day have all of her books on my shelf. She writes graphic novels too, something I thought I didn't like...until now.

Suzanne Finnamore - See above. From now on when Swistle suggests a writer, I won't question, I'll just do it. Read three of hers this year.

Michael Perry - I can't remember how I found him, maybe Amazon suggested him to me, but whatever - my life is better for it. Almost like a cooler version of Dave Barry - much cooler. If you want to laugh and cry, read his memoirs, "Population 485" and "Truck: A Love Story." Brian is now a fan as well, and he's NOT usually a lover of the memoirs. Unless it's from a World War II guy or some shit.

Christopher Moore - Thank you, Heather! I'm usually leery of people suggesting writers, but just from the little she knew about me, Heather knew I'd love him and of course she was right. She sent me two of his books, one of which Brian snaked out from under me and I haven't gotten it back yet, and the other which I read in three days. His dark twisted humor and utter laugh out loud wit reminds me of one of my old favorites, Tom Robbins. In fact Heather, you really need to read Another Roadside Attraction. Brian bought it for me on our first date and the more I read it, the more I started to fall in like with Brian because if he had long hair, tattoos AND loved a book like this? Yes, please.

Jodi Piccoult - I usually stay away from the huge women bestsellers, because to me they always seem to follow a formula. Romance, mystery, killers, forensics, law thrillers, or some combination of those, etc. This lady is no different, but when I was in Florida in October, my sister handed me "My Sister's Keeper" (ironic) and told me I HAD to read it. Which turned out to be a total revenge move on her part. A few years back I made her read a book called God-shaped Hole and she declared it the saddest book in the world, got totally pissed at me and plotted revenge. She finally got it with this damn book. But, Piccoult is a decent enough writer so that I know if and when I don't have anything else to read, she's a good backup plan. I have to have a backup plan or I start to foam at the mouth and get the shakes.

Right, so there you have it. My fascinating, up-to-the-minute discussion about something most people don't give a shit about. Except that's wrong. I'm finding more and more book lovers as time goes on. Belinda even told me she was reading yesterday - those Twilight books will suck anyone in! They made Elizabeth a fan as well. Maybe now that it costs $50 (at least) for two people to go out to eat and to the movies and the fact most of what's on TV sucks dick, people will start to give books a chance. Sing it! "All we are say-ing, is give books a chance...."


Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm just glad you ended up liking Christopher Moore. I would have taken the books back and found them a proper home if you hadn't. :)

I'll check out that Tom Robbins book at the library. That's what I do when people refer me to authors, I borrow their copies or go to the library to see if I like 'em first before buying them.

I don't get rid of my books either. I love them too much. They make me happy when I look at them and I like having them right here when I need to refer to something.

I won't be sucked in by Twilight, but I might just read the Harry Potter books one day.

Kim said...

That's a good policy for checking out new authors. I have found some gems at the library - contrary to what people think, I do like libraries and in fact wish I worked in one. To be surrounded by books and book lovers all day...
Harry Potter got me through the Dark Time and for that I'll always be grateful to him. The movies suck compared to the books, as per usual.

Anonymous said...

I usually don't like to see movies before I've read the books. But I actually had no intention of ever reading the Harry Potter books so I watched the movies and, honestly, I liked them so much it got me interested in reading the books because I know that the books are always better. :)

The Stephen King adaptations are the best example of that!

Kim said...

Stephen King is my FAVORITE example of that!
The only exceptions IMO are The Shining and Misery.

Anonymous said...

My only King exception would be 'Delores Claiborne'.

They took a liberty in 'Misery' I wasn't real happy about otherwise that would be one of my favorites too.

This is's like a discussion group message board thing. ;)

Anonymous said...

Those sound like some great recommendations! I am DYING to be sucked in by Twilight.

Heather- how can you not have read Harry Potter?! Ian's always laughing when I say I am "going to bed with Harry Potter"- he seems to think it's inappropriate. For some reason.

I think The Shining was an improvement on the book (gasp) and think that, when done well, Stephen King's books are great on the big screen. However a lot of the time, it just doesn't work.

One of my favourite Stephen King books is Bag of Bones and I hear Bruce Willis bought the rights to it- I think that would be pretty interesting if it was made into a big budget film. :)

Anonymous said...

Ooohhh Suzy! Bag of Bones is one of my favorites too. Insomnia is another one that I thought they could do really great things on film with.

I don't get sucked in by too many outrageously popular things.(Stephen King is an excused exception!) I actually get quite turned off by them. I hadn't even intended on watching the movies but the first one happened to be on one night when there was nothing else to watch and I really enjoyed it. I ended up watching all of the movies eventually and thought it might be fun to read the books now. :)

And the Twilight thing? Couldn't they have gotten a better looking vampire kid for the movie? Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

I miss reading so much...I try when I can. I rarely get anything available ot me in more than a one hour window.

IMO, people who read that didn't grow up with a lot of things tend to put a lot of value in books. For me, the books I have read all have a little bit of me in them. I can look at a book and Identify where I read it and it is a part of who I am...I guard them and give them only to people I know will value the book like I did.

Suggest read...

Kim said...

I too avoid really popular stuff; I didn't read HP until the fourth book had come out, but I started at the beginning and fell in love. I know I'll love Twilight, as cheesy as it may be. That dude's hair has its own supporting role in the movie.
Heather, what was the liberty in Misery? I don't remember. I was so happy with Kathy Bates.
Deloris Clayborne, wasn't too crazy about that one, but Bag of Bones is also one of my favorites. In the right hands, that could be an amazing movie. I'll be starting Duma Key soon after the first of the year.
MTAE, you described my feeling for books really well right there. I'll check out your suggestion on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

The hobbling scene in 'Misery'. Good disturbing scene and all that, but in the book she chopped his feet off. That has always bugged me.

The 'Delores Claiborne' film followed the book about as true as you can and that's why it's my favorite of all SK adaptations.

I feel the very same way about 'A Time To Kill'. There's just one liberty in particular that they took with the movie and it's a big one (to me) that really irritated me.

Swistle said...

YES. Yes, it is a COLLECTION. YES. And a PRETTY collection.

I love Christopher Moore. Lamb? OMG. So funny.