Monday, March 7, 2011

The Last Book I Read

Books are an occupational hazard for me. I work with them, so many migrate home with me and clutter up my shelves. I constantly have to purge. They clutter my desk at work. I can't purge there, I have to work with them. I spend a majority of my day with books, and spent the majority of the last decade hitting them in college and graduate school. So to say that I have very little mental capacity for pleasure reading is an understatement.
Because I work with books, I get a million book suggestions for my pleasure reading list. I have simply been unable to keep up with what other people want me to read. Granted, I don't mind getting book suggestions for work (makes my day easier!) nor do I mind getting books as gifts. What I do mind is when people brashly suggest that "you don't read" or "you won't read it" or "you don't have time to read it anyway" because I haven't read what they want me to. For this reason, I have stopped discussing books and swapping titles in general. I have enough mental clutter when it comes to pleasure reading thanks to my job, I don't need to get it elsewhere.
I will say that grad school and the nature of my job feed into this mental block as well, as both required me to be detail oriented. Read: OCD. I don't read as fast as I want to (I live with a Stanford PhD student and the rate at which he devours boring-to-me-information literally puts me to shame) and I constantly find myself stalling out halfway through books. I hate doing anything halfway and letting info get stale. I just rewatched an entire season of the Tudors to refresh my brain before proceeding. In addition, I always pick up books I "should" be reading rather than what I WANT to be reading. I feel guilty if I actually get enjoyment out of a book. It means I'm not working hard or slaving over it.
So, to not leave you completely hanging, I will say that I love biographies and memoirs. I like books that take me back in time (and I also love films that are period pieces.) I don't read a whole lot of fiction, but when I do it tends to be a bit on the macabre side. I loved learning about Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath in high school English. I revisit them now and again. I like a lot of things from the New York Times Bestseller lists (celeb tell-alls, current events, hot new fiction titles hitting the book club circuits.) I love it when books are turned into movies, even if the movies aren't as good as the books. (I'm looking at you, Twilight.) And, like most aspects of my life, there isn't a whole lot of cohesion to my bookshelf...what can I say, I live on Eclectic Avenue.
With the debut of the iPad 2, which I'm pretty sure I'll be purchasing as an even-more portable alternative to traveling with my laptop, I hope to find the enjoyment in reading again. For now, I'm mum on the last book I read, the current book I am reading, and what I plan to read next.

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