Sunday, February 12, 2012
As a writer, I have had a changing relationship with books. There was once a time in my life when I would buy and read books voraciously, never allowing the sun to set between finishing one book and starting another. Then, more recently, I eschewed reading for writing. I spend so much time writing that I hardly read at all. That said, they say a writer must be a reader as well and it’s been a very tight line to walk.
Vicky knows very well how I am about books because I have two huge bookcases crammed with books I never read. I read them once, though, and they tell quite a story about my reading history. One bookcase is packed with novels. This goes back to the days when I loved fiction and would read whatever I could get my hands on. True, I tended more towards science-fiction and fantasy novels but there’s also plenty of horror and mystery and just play commercial fiction in there, too. Once I began to write a lot of fiction, however, I really began to see how these books were written, what strings were being pulled, and once I understood the workings behind the scenes (if you will), my interests moved away from fiction… and that takes me to the second bookcase, which is filled with non-fiction. Most of the second bookcase is stuffed with philosophy and history but there’s plenty of other stuff in there as well. I use quite a bit of it for reference but mostly I hold onto it, as well as the other bookcase, because I dream of the day when I can go back and reread all those books!
I mention all of this because Vicky and I were at Costco today and Vicky found this stack of the most incredible, general knowledge kinds of books you can imagine. Two books covered philosophy and psychology and were called something like the “Big Book of Psychology” and the “Everything You’d Ever Want To Know About Philosophy.” (I’m not sure about the exact names but it doesn’t really matter.) There were also history books called “Amazing History” and “Bizarre History.” I had the hook in my mouth and Vicky could see I was biting down. I might as well have been spurting blood.
But the thing is, I’m already reading two books. I’ve been reading them for some time, too. Hell, I never have time to read – all I do is write! The first book is a thick tome we picked up in a second-hand shop in Cambria called The Hundred Most Influential Books Ever Written. I’ve been reading that monster for over a year! The second is Isaac Azimov’s I Azimov, a wonderful autobiography by a hero of mine. I bought that back in July from a beautifully dusty old used book store in LA.
The thing was, I couldn’t justify buying any new books – no matter how cheap they were! (They were only about $10 each, which these days is a great price.)
Vicky being Vicky, though, made it sound as though we would also buy them for her. Now, if you don’t know, Vicky is 100 times busier than I’ll ever be. If I don’t have time for reading, she’ll NEVER have time!
We ended up buying them, of course. Now, I have six books I need to read… one of these days…