I need a book to read at all times. Or, put another way, I cannot be without a book for a period of longer than two days without becoming erratic and irrational. Maybe I’m overreacting, but time without a book really screws up my schedule. While I’m by no means a “life by routine” guy, I have certain amounts of time reserved each day for certain activities. Forty minutes for taking the train each day, an hour for reading, thirty minutes for thinking about exercising and unlimited night and weekend minutes for eating. When I don’t have a book, the reading hour can drift away, leading me into various permutations of doing nothing. If I could turn it into writing each day, it would not be so bad, I suppose, but that’s hard for me. I like reading AND writing, but not equally. That may be why I find the newspaper business so draining: lots of writing, little reading. Given the choice of doing one forever and the other never again, I would choose reading in a heartbeat. Sorry to disappoint you.
I think this is a problem because I am quite particular about the books I read. I will only read books that have been recommended to me by friends, books that are uniformly well-reviewed upon being issued or classics that have oozed into my brain through some weird sequence of events (A Jeopardy! question, blog post, etc.). When nobody has recommended anything new and there are no new books over which to drool, the classics are usually the fallback option, but sometimes it is hard for me to stick my head 200 or 2,000 years into the past. The book I really want to read is in transit to my library branch at the moment, because I find it hard to pay for books unless there’s a really good reason. Why don’t I just choose something else? Well, sometimes I try. I currently have a new book, Blink, with which I’m not satisfied.
I read books that are recommended because I value my peers’ opinions but mostly because I’ll then have somebody with whom to talk about the book. Sometimes this does not work because they will have read the book a long time ago and forgotten most of the details by the time I’m finished, which is fine as long as the book is good. I can’t remember the last book that was recommended to me that I didn’t like, so this usually isn’t an issue. But I really like getting to talk about books.
So the short of it is that right now I’m bookless.
Let it also be known that I had half a Starbucks tall coffee at 9 p.m. and my feet are still shaking (It’s 12:35 a.m.). The rest of me is pretty tired, but they’re buzzing like electric toothbrushes. Right now, I’ve settled into the routine of a cup of coffee or iced coffee every morning and one sometime in the afternoon, and the evening one was really just for fun while I watched the NBA Finals.