While lurking on Reddit this weekend (I don’t have a Reddit account. Should I get one? Will it puzzle me like Pinterest? I digress.), looking for some book recommendations – because 471 books on one’s to-read shelf isn’t enough, apparently, I came across the fact that if one reads a book a week for every year of their life, they still won’t read more than 4000 books or so.
In the grand scheme of literature, that’s a very small number.
I’ve always loved to read. When I started kindergarten, they sent me down the hall to the first grade reading class every day. When I moved to a new school, they skipped me into first grade completely. I loved the Scholastic book club in grammar school, which allowed me to acquire quite the collection of Baby-sitters Club books. I loved the Book It program, which allowed me to acquire quite a few personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut. I found out recently that Book It lives on, some thirty years later. I hope they have a vegan pizza option…
My love of reading grew as I graduated to junior high and discovered Stephen King. I loved the stories that came from his sick, twisted imagination… I still do. The Stand remains my favorite novel, and I consider myself the lesser for still having the Dark Tower series on my to-read list.
In college I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but I took all of my electives in english and literature classes. I took a creative writing class that I enjoyed a lot. I wonder if things would’ve been any different if I had taken that route instead of thinking I wanted to be a journalist.
I love spending a day at Barnes and Noble with a good book. I’m grateful for the county’s open borrowing system for library material. I’m overjoyed that this includes ebooks; my borrowing spans from hardcovers to electronic versions of books on the Kindle app. And I have several other reading apps to cover my bases.
If there is one thing I regret about reading (besides the fact that I probably won’t make that 4000 lifetime number), it’s that my retention is for squat. I’m a fairly quick reader, but I couldn’t tell you much about most of the books I’ve read in my life. There have been times (before Goodreads solved the task of keeping track) where I’ve started a book and not realized I’d read it already until a decent way in. Are we meant to only carry the truly special books with us past an expiration date, or is my brain at fault?
I hope that I can be more mindful about reading, just as I hope I can be more mindful in other areas. Pages don’t have to be devoured like potato chips (another vice of mine); there’s no race to get to the next chapter. Here’s to reading for the joy of it, and to finding the next great story that sticks with you.