So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson
Surprisingly enough, reading about someone else's adventures in reading is surprisingly interesting, involving, even addictive.
I originally picked the book by the title -- I suspect someone on Goodreads I know had it in his or her list and I grabbed it from there, or perhaps I saw it somewhere else. I can't remember. But I checked it out from the library and, while checking the first page, got hooked. While I don't have the author's job or her reading appetite (at least, not any more -- once upon a time I read to live), she and I share many habits -- the "double booking" (although I tend to keep book harems), the mood reading, the piles of books yet unread waiting for that moment I know is coming when I will want one of them, the problems of friendships and book loaning, the idea that each book is a relationship. I was surprised to read someone else putting these thoughts into words. My reading has slowed, I think, because of late my life hasn't left me with the energy and courage to start up these new relationships. It's easier to reread familiar books.
I've also compiled a new list of books I want to try reading (like I needed MORE). Whether Nelson liked the book or didn't finish it, the casual way she discusses books and book readers is so true to my own life that I have to try her recommendations.
This book has a few years on it, aging in a way that is particular to such books -- after all, she's talking about books and authors that were new to her in 2003, and 7 years is enough time to put some age on the titles she mentions. However, the ideas about reading and readers don't age. Her voice -- familiar to me, casual, honest, funny -- captured my attention and made me read when I should have slept.
Encouraged by her example, I'm dedicating 2011 to a similar task -- reading one book a week and keeping a record of it. I don't expect to get a book deal out of it (if only!) but I might reduce my "To-Read" shelf a bit. 52 books seems, at once, like a completely attainable goal and like the purist folly, but I feel inspired.