Thursday, January 20, 2011

Avid Reader: Do I Qualify?

I had some errands to run. So I shaved, brushed my teeth, put on fresh clothes and got ready to leave. As I was gathering up some personal items from the bedroom I took a look through the two-foot stack of books on my bedside table, checking to see what was left there to read.

And I realized that as of last night I'd finished off that stack. I said as much to Carole.

"Damn. I thought I still had some here to read," I said. "I can't believe I've read every one in this stack. Just this month!"

And then Carole asked me how many book a year I read. "Is it one a week?" she asked.

"Hell, no," I told her. "Has to be something like two or three books a week." It's not something I generally think about. Also, I'm not one of these folk who speed-read. I take it slow, page by page, word by word.

True, I do go through some dry periods, especially when I'm in the midst of writing a novel or doing research when I don't read many books. I'll switch to articles and non-fiction, but novels are sometimes out of the picture. But then I come roaring back and start reading long form fiction with a vengeance.

Just recently I went through a period of reading horror fiction. Strangely, I don't generally read much in the way of horror novels, even though that's what I tend to write. I guess it's because I don't want to be unduly influenced by what other such writers are doing. I like to play my own game that way. But looking at the stack that just went into me old brain, I noticed quite the lot of horror fiction. True, some of it was in the form of anthologies, but lots of novels there.

For the hell of it, here's the list of what was just consumed over the course of about two weeks:

FACELESS KILLERS by Henning Mankell (a thriller).

AUTUMN by David Moody (horror/zombie).

THE NEW DEAD edited by Christopher Golden (zombie anthology).

THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION by Michael Chabon (alternate history thriller).

WEREWOLVES IN THEIR YOUTH by Michael Chabon (short story collection, general fiction).

PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry (horror/thriller)

WOKEN FURIES by Richard K. Morgan (hard science-fiction)

THE BOOK OF GENESIS by Robert Crumb (Biblical interpretation).

So that's eight books in the last two weeks alone. This is kind of bad, actually, since when I'm reading like this I run out of books. And not being a fan of ebooks, I find myself burning through my budget in quick order.


Jack said...

A book every two days definitely qualifies you as an Avid Reader! I probably average about a book a week.

HemlockMan said...

After the next stack of books is exhausted I'm sure I'll slow down a bit. Or scour the library for books--they sell them there for 25 cents for paperbacks, 50 cents for hardbacks. But I try to buy books new to support other authors.

dogboy443 said...

How was the Yiddish Policeman? The description sounded intriguing.

HemlockMan said...

It's a really great book, Mark! Chabon is one of the best writers around these days. I always get a big kick out of his work. This is really nice because it's an alternate history novel which are almost always fun to read (when handled well).