Friday, November 09, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - On Friday

Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less? Why?

I've seen this one at several of my favorite blogs in the last couple of days and, since it got me to thinking about my own early reading days, I decided to join in the chatter.

I've been keeping a list of the books that I read since February 1970. It's really hard for me to believe that I've been keeping that list for almost forty years now and that no one but me has ever even seen it. In fact, no one other than me even knew of its existence until this very moment.

In looking back at the list, I can easily see the relationship between what was going on in my life and how much time I had for reading. Over the years, I've read as little as a dozen books and well over a hundred in a given year. I don't think that my love of reading has changed over time, but my free time has surely varied from decade to decade. Those years during which I was newly married with young children reflect some of the lowest totals in the more than 37 years logged so far. Every time I changed jobs my totals went down. On the other hand, as I became more settled in my job and when my two daughters left home, my totals jumped way up and have stayed high for a while now.

This year has been kind of interesting to me because I was out of work from the end of March until two weeks ago. All of that extra time to discover book bloggers and their great tips on what to read, plus the extra time to actually do the reading, has resulted in what will probably be my highest yearly total ever. Of course, now that I've gone back to work, my book completion pace has fallen off a bit and I'm not sure where I'm going to end the year.

The reading bug bit me when I was about ten years old and I've never lost that original excitement about discovering new books and authors. I remember climbing on my bicycle when I was about ten and riding the four miles to the town's tiny little one-room library to get a new bunch of books to take home. I managed to get through the children's shelves so quickly that there was suddenly nothing new to read so the town librarian took pity on me and allowed me to choose freely from the adult shelves. She always quizzed me about a book or two that I was returning just to make sure that I was understanding them and, looking back, I'm really surprised that she never once refused me a book, regardless of its contents.

That experience probably made me into the reader that I am now because dipping into the adult section of the town library always seemed like such a privilege, a gift that the librarian was giving to me by bending the rules in my favor. Every Saturday morning was like Christmas, a feeling that I still sometimes get when I pick up a new book.


  1. Hard to say. My mother took us to the library from the time we were babies, so I have memories of carting back a pile of Dr. Seus books every two weeks. Then from the first grade on through elementary school I read my way through every library in every new school (we moved every two years, so I had a new library to enjoy, not the military, my dad was a salesman).

    Now I just consider myself a confirmed book-addict. I read mostly the genre in which I write, so you could say reading is business as well as pleasure for me now. Yes, I am a very lucky woman for sure!

  2. I have to admit, Laura, that reading for a living sounds pretty cool to me. I could never make it as a writer, but making it as a reader would be a close second. :-)

  3. I love the fact that you've kept a list of every book you've read for that long. I wish I had the presence of mind to do something like that. I'm, however, way to unorganized to do something like that. What made you begin the list in the first place?

  4. You know, J.S., I don't know exactly why I started the list when I did. I suppose that I felt that I'd finally become an adult and I was curious about how my reading habits would develop over time. I had turned 21 years old and had recently married, etc., and it just got me to thinking about things like that.

    Strange, I know...