Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reflections on books

When I read a good book it consumes my attention for as long as it takes to finish it. If I have to put it down in order to, say, interact with my beloved I resent it, feel guilty for resenting it then forget both emotions immediately as I dive back into the action. Meals degenerate into something that can be made in a couple of minutes and eaten without attention. Sandwiches are a mainstay of my diet when reading.  Given that I quite like my relationship with Ian and I really would like to have friends other than Miles Vorkosigan, Shevek, Tycho Potter, Susan Pevensey, Felix Castor, Sam Starfall et al, I don't read nearly as much fiction as I used to. There have been times, far distant now, where I would read all through the night to finish a book and zombie through my work the next day. I can't afford to do that either. 

Another feature of my reading style is that I have no memory at all. Oh, some books I have read so many times that I remember them wholesale but I do my best to avoid that happening. I love being able to re-read a book and only encounter a faint feeling of familiarity. It means I don't have to buy so many books though sometimes I read something not worth a second read because I've forgotten the mediocrity of it. I should really have re-homed some of my books.

Of course my memory problem has a positive side. I can't hold a decent grudge because I don't retain the vehemence of my emotions, and sometimes even forget the cause. I can occasionally find notes around the place, often used as bookmarks, reminding me of important things. These are seldom effective but luckily some things stick from being thought so many times. I can remember, 'Don't trust Tony Blair' and 'I really shouldn't have had the second bottle of wine'. Over the last dozen years, as I've mentioned before, my backup has been rereading my old fanzines. Given that I've now got a big hard-drive and Time Machine makes backing up easy I thought I might try to keep some sort of log of what I've read and whether it might be worth a second reading in the future. I'd backdate it but, other than 'I Shall Wear Midnight', 'The Downhill Crocodile Whizz' and the five Liadan books I read over the Christmas break I can't really remember so I'll start my list with 'Moonfall' by Stephen Baxter.

I shall also attempt to put the books that I don't love in the 'Ready for Fostering' box.

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