Monday, August 12, 2013

Now Read This!

It began back in January:  compiling the long list of books I would read this year for research.  It has continued through the inter-library loan system, through piles of dusty tomes in used bookstores, and even via the internet through fantastic collection of books long since out-of-print but kept alive as PDF files.  But I've lost count. 

Reading all of these books--or more accurately, portions of them--has also pressed me to keep pace with the books I receive each month from publishers for review. It is safe to say that these books often keep me up late at night and cause me to rise extremely early in the morning.  So many pages.  So little time.  And none of it can be done during normal daylight or working hours.  Too much to do, too many people to see, too many places to go.

By year's end I do hope to have the bulk of the reading behind me, however.  My wife will love me for it as I will then be able to shed, literally, hundreds of pounds.  These enormous piles of books that are stacked in my office like piles of wood.  My reading material.  So many footnotes clipped and dog-eared and marked.  But we need to say good-bye.  We need to part ways.  

Save for a few books of poetry and, perhaps, one or two short-story collections and the ever-present magazine essay . . . little of my reading this year has been enjoyable.  It has been a labor.  A labor of love, perhaps, but hellish work nonetheless.

A few weeks back, after I had received yet another shipment of books for review, I countered a sticky-note which read:  "For review: when you have the time" with "I always have the time . . . as long as I can stay awake."

Rather like that these days.  I'm reading tired.  Writing tired.  Working the long pull of a week on fumes ignited by the insatiable thirst for coffee and handfuls of vitamins and hour-long sessions at the gym.  But at fifty-two, I know I have miles to go before I sleep.  

It's a dirty job . . . reading all of these books.  But somebody has got to do it.  

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