Hi, I am the Pantless Wonder and I am a book-aholic.
I read the way other people flip on the television for background noise. I read the way other people watch sports, surf the web, play video games, or drink. It’s my passion. You see, my “little black book” is probably a little different than yours. Mine is filled with book titles and authors. I read in the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom, and every room in between. I can read on trains, planes, but not, strangely in automobiles. I can read while holding a baby and bottle, while walking on the treadmill, or while taking a bath (where I usually prefer magazines). When I am feeling down or particularly scatter-brained, I just re-read something, usually Terry Pratchett or Sharon Shinn.
Am I a little obsessive? Well sure, aren’t you about your hobby? You see, my love of reading started early in life. I can tell you with authority that the best Christmas gift I ever received was an entire box of Three Investigators books when I was a child. And I don’t mean a piddly boxed set. No, my friends, I mean the entire 43 books of the series. It took my parents months to gather all the books (pre-Internet of course) and I had to wait until mid-afternoon Christmas Day to even open it because my dad worked that year. Oh my, but it was worth the wait. I remember being speechless. I also remember that it took me until mid-August to finish them all.
My husband shares in my obsession, but sadly, our taste in reading rarely overlaps. Our shared to-be read shelf never contains more than ten books. He reads fantasy, I read sci-fi. He reads Vince Flynn and David Balducci. I read Neil Gaiman and Stephen L. Carter. We are only bonded in non-fiction, where we occasionally share business or sports books. This means of course, that our shelves groan under the weight of many different genres, but it also means that neither one can get in trouble for spending too much on books. In our house, there is no such thing.
This year, I read 59 books. I kept track. That doesn’t count re-reads, of which there were at least a dozen. My goal was to finish my to-be-read shelf before 2010, but I still have World War Z to get through (a Christmas gift) and the new Pat Conroy, which I keep trying to read, but keep closing due to my allergic reaction to flowery prose. Here are my top five reads of 2009:
1. The Post-Birthday World – Lionel Shriver
2. Sing Them Home – Stephanie Kallos
3. Lamb – Christopher Moore
4. Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates (a re-read, but still fantastic)
5. American Wife – Curtis Sittenfeld
And to be fair, here are the first books I wish I hadn’t bothered with:
1. Lord John and the Hand of Devils – Diana Gabaldon
2. Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time – Rob Sheffield
3. Look Again – Lisa Scottoline
4. Coronado – Dennis Lehane
5. What Dreams May Come – Richard Matheson
So with another year about to begin, I will start another list, rip a new page off my Book Lovers Page-A-Day calendar, add more titles to my little black book, and try to find even more time to read than last year. We’ll see how that goes – those pesky kids keep getting in the way. If you find a good book, pass it along. I keep every book I’ve ever read, but I’ll pass along the info to the next book lover I meet.