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Self-destructive reading

i09 had a blog piece about self-destructive reading habits over the weekend (http://io9.com/5915122/what-are-your-self+destructive-reading-habits#).  I started thinking about my own reading habits.

I used to read more fiction than I do now.  A lot of it was terrible, but I would slog through it under the delusion that it was important for me to keep up on what was going on in the field.  The truth of the matter is that life is too short to read bad books.

I am unnaturally loyal to people who give me copies of their books.  If they’re friends, I feel I owe it to them to read their books.  The problem is that a lot of my friends are perfectly nice people, and very good writers, but they write in genres or styles that I just don’t like.  I feel guilty, like I’ve betrayed them if I don’t want to finish their books.

For the moment I’ve assuaged my guilt by starting a stack of personally autographed novels that I will sell when my friends or I get famous.  Hey, it’s better than having one of them find a personalized copy of their book at the used bookstore.

In addition to those I'm given, I buy too many books.  I can’t go into a bookstore without coming out with something.  If I bought books as slowly as I finish them, I would have only bought 40 books last year.  I’m sure the number I bought (or otherwise received) doubled that.

For a while, I bought books in desperation, hoping to keep the publishing industry – and my favorite chain bookstore – afloat.  I’m still reading through the fallout from that binge.

I will read just about anything while I’m eating.  I understand that’s probably not the healthiest way to entertain myself.  I subscribe to a bunch of magazines, from Real Simple to Smithsonian to National Geographic.  I’ve been known to swipe my daughter’s American Girl and Ask, if she hasn’t already read me everything inside them. I know I should pay more attention to my food, but I can’t force myself to.

I wish I would make myself more time to read books each a day.  The problem is that I also like to stay up to watch the first 15 minutes of the 10:00 news.  By the time I get under the covers, I only have 15 minutes or so of reading time before I fall asleep.  I should give up the news, but it feels like the only point of contact I have with the city in which I live, since the online newspaper is so shallow.

Of course, it's lack of depth doesn't prevent me from scanning it twice a day.

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Very interesting points! I,

Very interesting points! I, too, buy too many books.  My excuse, is that I buy them mostly from charity shops, at a couple of pounds each... So how extravagant can it be? But then the tower of books is reaching Babelian heights...

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Babelian heights

"But then the tower of books is reaching Babelian heights..."

Such a lovely image!  It sounds so grand when you put it like that.  :-)