I’ve been on a sort-of-quest for a few weeks now. Actually, despite my repeated insistence that I was going skip the whole new years resolution thing, this quest has been a sort of resolution — a resolution that has stuck and is actually working. The quest is this: I’m going to finish all the books I’m reading at the moment.
I think Jess may have covered this in one of her rants. It has to do with books, and words, and reading — so (at least) I imagine if anyone would have ranted about this in some form, it would have been her. Regardless, as it stands, I am currently reading no less than fourteen books.
Call me scatterbrained. Call me crazy. Call me lacking in any sort of focus. But the fact is simply that I often pick up a book, read for a few days (intermittently), and then pick up another book and do the same thing. The problem, as I see it, has three major issues:
1) My unbridled curiosity which compels me to start new a book before I’ve finished the previous;
2) A lack of focus, which is not so much about loosing interest in a novel or tome, but shifting interest to something more immediate, and;
3) My memory which seems to allow for all this silliness by storing the plots and levers of all these books in my brain “until further required.”
Now, literally (no pun intended), I am reading books that I started while in college, which — for you peripheral readers out there — was a good eight years ago. Fiction, non-fiction, deeply philosophical, or silly. They’re all there with little paper bookmark ends sticking up like grass growing on my bookshelf.
So my quest: no more STARTING new books until I’ve narrowed the “in progress” list down to a maximum of five. (Hey, I’m not exactly going to deprive myself.) So I’ve been reading: picking up a book, locking focus, and reading it to the end. And it’s not easy. There are stacks of neat things I’ve found, turned over in my hands, and thought: “if only…” But alas. It’s not to be so. My countdown is on. And I’ll be through yet another volume by the end of tonight. What’s that then? Thirteen? I forget.
The odd thing is: it’s a little bit — almost — liberating. It’s like cleaning off one’s computer hard drive, dumping old files that are no longer required. Bits of my brain seem to be freed up to think about other things. I guess reading really does make you smarter.