Monday, March 5, 2012

Reading Habits, or I do realize that this is silly

I generally have about ten or twelve books on the go at a time:
  • I have a book that I'm reading "at home." Right now it's a travel book: "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush" by Eric Newby.
  • I also like to have a "day book"--some book that I read one or two pages each day. Collections oriented around diaries and memoirs work well (e.g. The "Folio Book of Days" or "The Assassin's Cloak"). However, one year I stretched out Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary" over 365 readings. This year, I'm reading "The Legacy" a set of testimonies by people who lived through the Irish troubles originally recorded by and broadcast on BBC.
  • I also, generally, have an art book on the go. I like looking at pictures (and I think it's good for my soul). The current one is "Moby-Dick in Pictures."
  • At night, I read a book in bed before going to sleep. For the last couple of years or so, it's been poetry and, right now, it's Edward Snow's translation of Rilke's "Uncollected Poems." I recognize that reading poetry while falling asleep isn't the best plan...
  • We have two bathrooms in the house and I keep a book to read in each. In the downstairs bathroom for the last couple of years it's been (with the odd interruption) "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable." (and I'm only half way through). Upstairs, it's currently "Myth, Legend, and Romance: An Encyclopedia of Irish Folk Tradition."
  • I love reading in the bathtub. The key characteristic of a good bathtub book is weight--so the Encyclopedia I have in the upstairs bathroom is out. Right now my bathtub book is "The Real Charlotte."
  • I drive a lot for my work so I listen to audio books a lot. It's important that these books keep me awake so I usually have two on the go (variety is, after all). I will admit that, often, the key criteria for choosing an audio book is cost: minimizing dollars per hour. Currently, I'm listening to "Anathem" and "The Fundamentals of Music Theory."
  • I also keep two books going on the road: one for my hotel room and one for reading at lunch at the client's site.  I read either or both on planes and trains. My hotel room book right now is "The Patrick Melrose Novels" and my lunch book is "Grain."
  • And I sometimes read short books in and around these. For instance, I'm currently reading "Picturesque Word Origins."
  • And that's not counting the three magazines I subscribe to: Book Forum, Art News, and Canadian Art 
And, I admit, every once in awhile it becomes confusing. At one point I was reading Boswell's "London Journal", selections from the Paston's letters that chronicled life in England in the fifteenth century, and a selection of diary entries from the Wars of the Roses. Keeping all three books straight was a bit of a nightmare.

    Reading or read

    No comments: