In 1994 I set a goal to read 1,000 books in 40 years. This excludes children's books or instruction manuals or travel guides or Penthouse Forum
letter collections, which quite truthfully was an omission that will hurt my chances of success.
Since that time I've maintained a list, first on paper and then transferred to Excel, of all of the books I have read. By the end of this year I should be at 325 books to stay on pace; I'm currently at 293. I'll have to kick it into a higher gear at some point to catch up, but I'm scheduling some time in my mid-50s to do so. I'm a big believer in setting goals; this one gives me the most leeway and time to procrastinate of all of them.
I don't spend discretionary income on many things, leaving that task predominantly to my wife and children. However, I'm a sucker for books. My home office is lined with six bookshelves, and the shelves are slowly running out of space. My book collection will never rival that of my good friend Steve, whose house does not have an inner wall in any room aside from the bathroom or kitchen devoid of bookshelves. The point is, though, that I love purchasing books. I'd much rather own a book than borrow one or check one out of the library. There's a part of me that wants possession in the event I decide to re-read a particular book, or so I can have them available for my children to read as they grow older. Plus, I just like the way they look piled up on my shelves.
My book purchasing frequency outpaces my book reading
frequency, however, so many of the volumes on my shelves have yet to be read. I just purchased another book today, which is one of at least 20 that I have to decide between as to which I am going to read next. Currently I'm about halfway through Tom Drury's The End of Vandalism
, which is thoroughly enjoyable but which I'm progressing through slowly given that I seem to only have the hour between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. available for free time these days, and instead I'm spending much of that time goofing around on the internet (posting on this blog, for one thing).
One problem I have is that I tend to get as interested in thinking about the next book I'm going to read as I do about the book I'm currently reading. It has to be some sort of illness, but it feels immensely pleasurable to read the last page of a book and immediately begin running through the list of contenders for Next Book
(I actually think of it like that, in bold and capitalized). The difficulty currently for me is that I have so many books that are vying for the title of Next Book
. That's why I've decided to list the viable contestants in this post, as a sort of guide for me in the hopes it may help me prioritize my reading list. It doesn't help me to realize that with a substantial list, at my reading pace that basically ties me up for the better part of a year. And yet I know without hesitation that I will be purchasing more books before year's end. No one ever knows what to get me for a gift, and I don't know either, so I always ask for a gift certificate to Amazon or B&N or Borders.
So, knowing that this list is in no sort of priority order (having listed them based on the order in which I notice them on the shelves), and that many will be replaced by others to be named later, and that some may never be read for that matter, and that I need to wrap this sentence up before drowning in commas, here is my current list of books I'm anxious to "get to reading":
1. A Confederacy of Dunces -
2. Parasite Rex
3. Hare Brain Tortoise Mind -
4. J R -
5. Magic Street -
6. I Am Charlotte Simmons -
7. The Firm of the Future -
Dunn and Baker
8. Encouraging the Heart -
Kouzes and Posner
9. Managing the Professional Service Firm -
10. Clients for Life -
Sheth and Sobel
11. Uncoventional Success - A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment -
12. The Agressive Conservative Investor -
Whitman and Shubik
13. Rule #1 -
14. The Mind of Bill James -
15. Baseball Between the Numbers -
16. New Shanghai -
17. A People's History of the United States -
18. Revolutionary Wealth -
Toffler and Toffler
19. Fast Food Nation -
20. The Wisdom of Crowds -
21. Empires of the Word -
22. Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz -
Burger and Starbird
23. The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten -
24. NY Public Library's Books of the Century -
25. Boards That Deliver -
26. China: The Balance Sheet -
Center for Strategic and International Studies
27. Freedom Just Around the Corner -
28. Magician -
That's more than a year's worth of books right there. And it doesn't count all of the other books I haven't yet read that are on my shelves. Or Guns, Germs and Steel
which I have 100 pages yet to read (and have had to read for about six weeks). Or the books on my Amazon wishlist
. Or the few periodicals I subscribe to. Or the newspaper. Or current reading for my profession. Or. Or. Or. I should be a miner, extracting all this or.
Any suggestions on what to read next? What to ignore? If not, I'll just pick a Next Book
that suits my mood at the time. One thing I sure as hell ain't reading: this post for typos.