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Yes, I love to read, but I'm starting to think it's a bit excessive that, not counting poetry collections or language learning material, I have eight books going at once: the Bible, a book in another language, a collection of essays, a biography, a book on music, a book on acting, and two novels in verse form. Maybe I should finish half of these before I start anything new.

Meanwhile, I am bemoaning my failure to mark my books when the moment seizes me. There were two moments in the Chaucer that really struck me last night, and today I couldn't find one of them. I'd better go mark the other, and I'd better go mark the two bits in Nabokov's introduction to his translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin that have made me pause.

On the flip side, as much as I love reading, I am terribly impatient with it. I want to soak it all up much faster, but I can't speed up without sacrificing comprehension or enjoyment of certain turns of phrase. Drudge on at my snail's pace I must.

I was recently told I should once again post a poll letting you choose my next book. With eight currently started and over a hundred waiting on my shelves, I'm not so sure that would be helpful right now. However, a self-serving variation crossed my mind. If you so desire, go to the listing of books in my library (http://www.librarything.com/catalog/spwebdesign_library) and choose a book. The book with the most votes will get strong consideration for "next book" once I've whittled my current reading to four. Alternately, go to my Amazon Wishlist (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/P4TYAA34VNIX) and buy me a book from it (or a non-Wishlist book you think I'd enjoy, but the Wishlist automatically ships to the correct address), and I'll start reading it, setting aside my other books, as soon as it arrives. (Of course, I'm not expecting anything from this, but I'm curious to see what reactions, if any, to this are.)


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC)
You want us to facilitate your reading addition? From the sound of it, we should be throwing you an interdiction instead :).
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
Hm, yes, perhaps instead folks should come visit from the US, especially from Troy, so that I become too distracted to read or add new books to my library.
Aug. 9th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
Book List
I didn't see Sam by James Henderson on your list. I'm sure I sent it to you and I'd live to hear your comments on it. Of course, it may not be up to your usual standards.
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
Re: Book List
Well, it's not a published work, so of course it's not on the list.
Aug. 9th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Book List
It's my first big work that may actually get published ... if I get a little help from my friends and family. People in my class have enjoyed individual chapters but haven't given any useful criticism. They micro-criticize, concentrating on grammar and spelling instead of the story, which many of them complain they can't understand. I need to know where the weaknesses are so I can shore them up.
Aug. 9th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Book List
I do plan on reading it, and you can be assured I'll have plenty of feedback. It's not the sort of thing I can take on commutes, though, so the going will be slow.

However, going back to the original comment, the list (by which I assumed you meant my LibraryThing catalogue) only includes published works, which is why your book isn't listed.
Aug. 9th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)
Post-it notes. You need Post-it notes.

Or a Kindle.
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
What's a Kindle?
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)
Amazon.com's electronic book.

I must have one.
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:54 am (UTC)
Oh, no, the last thing I want is an electronic book. I love actual books, not just their contents.
Aug. 9th, 2008 09:56 am (UTC)
Well, then, you need Post-its.

And lots of cardboard boxes when you move.
Aug. 9th, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
The Kindle is book sized and really looks like printed text on a page, due to their use of electronic ink. They had one at Costco for a while and I had a chance to look at it. At least I would have had a chance to look if I had been alone ... Delia and Cathy don't want me even looking at anything electronic.

They have, however, made exactly the same mistake made by all previous developers of electronic books: they make acquisition of books unpleasant and limit users to partial ownership, all at stupidly high prices. I would want such a device for reading the multitude of books available free in the public domain but their proprietary format -- the only format the machine accepts -- doesn't allow for free books. The machine itself is too expensive for what you get.

I am obviously not alone in this opinion. I've seen a few reviews that have the same condemnation of such devices. It's the copy protection mentality. It has been shown repeatedly that copy protection schemes drastically reduce sales but every publisher is afraid that free copies of their material will drive them out of business. This form of paranoia has peaked in DVD sales, where publishers have paid legislators to pass laws making bypassing of copy protection schemes illegal. [I think I'm starting to rant. I'd better quit.]
Aug. 10th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
Re: Kindle
The Kindle is book sized and really looks like printed text on a page

Can you dog-ear the pages? Underline passages and scribble notes in the margin? Can you read previous readers' markings or find interesting bits of paper forgotten between the pages? Or the occasional squashed bug or worm-eaten page? Can you fold one side back over the spine? Can you rifle through the pages under fluorescent light so you can see the light split into yellow and blue bands? Can you stick a finger in a section for quick reference while you're reading another? Can you smell the distinct odor of dry, yellowing pages? Feel the grit? The paintbrush-smooth edges of the pages? The texture of each page? Can you admire the cover art and ponder its relevance to the text? Can you stack them on your night table or arrange them on your shelf and admire the collage-like mash of colors, shapes, and sizes? Can you easily give it to a friend who might like it without hampering your ability to read another? Can you write inscriptions on the flyleaf when you give it away? Can you admire the way the text looks on the page? The font types and sizes, the arrangement of text, the distinct look of verse, different types of prose? Can you feel that exhillarating sense of discovery when you find a gem of a title for nickels and dimes in the least expected places?

I think proponents of electronic books think it's all about information, about the content on the pages. It's not. Certainly content is a significant component, but it's not hardly all. Content would not explain why some might prefer paperbacks to hardcovers, others nicely bound special editions to mass market editions. If content were all, why not just listen to audio books? It's perfectly valid to be interested in the content only, but to all proponents of alternative content delivery, please stop trying to foist your e-books and audio books on us book lovers!
Aug. 10th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
Re: Kindle
Did my comments sound like an endorsement?
Aug. 10th, 2008 05:16 am (UTC)
Re: Kindle
I think we'd better just leave him alone with his books.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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