Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Not that anyone asked, but I thought I would mention a little about my reading habits. Somewhere around 10 years ago I started growing frustrated with myself about having started a dozen books but not being able to finish any of them before starting more. I made a simple resolution to myself that I would start reading books all the way through. Over time this evolved into a system whereby I allow myself three books at a time, but I won't start a new one until I finish one. While I will make an exeption from time to time, I have kept pretty closely to this system.

I also realized at some later point that I wasn't reading the quality of literature I wanted to, so now I try tomake sure I only purchase books which I've gotten some sort of strong recommendation for. I read very few best sellers. I try to make my fiction reading to be of high quality authors as much as possible, and my non-fiction reading broad, though I have certain categories I try to get some depth in.

In terms of systemetizing that aspect, I keep a reading queue. Any new books I get go to the end of the line. I occasionally feel frustrated that I can't read anything quickly, in terms of getting the book and immediately setting down to read it, but I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone. Delayed gratification is a good thing and I always need things to help teach me patience in our instant gratification age.

I try to make up for the frustration by setting high reading goals for each week. Two years ago my goal was 2 books per week. This was done fairly easily, so I made it 3 books per week last year, and that worked out pretty well. I've treid to maintain that this year, but I'm a little behind. It always depends on exactly how heavy the individual books are. I've got Norman Davies' fat History of Europe staring at me on my shelf, challenging me to start it and finish it in some reasonable time. I've got a bunch of skinny books in the queue, so I may start it soon and work a bunch of other books around it. I did that last year with a World Literature textbook which took me 3 or 4 weeks to get through. Was fun to read short stories from Africa and Japan and so forth.

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