One of the many reasons that my wife and I get along so well is that we understand each other, and we each tolerate a silent addiction that we share.
We love to read.
As for me, I am not what one would consider to be a “casual reader”, although I guess “voracious reader” sounds a bit violent, as does “heavy user”. 🙂 I actually started reading at age two, and I was self-taught. Yes, really. My mom has shared this story dozens of times with me and others.
In a nutshell, we have literally 1000’s of books in our house (thankfully, we have a pretty large home!). I just counted, and we have 17 bookshelves now. My wife once blogged about this a couple of years ago. I think her post was entitled, “I have more books in my bathroom than you have in your whole house” or something similar. This is probably not far from the truth, unless you are also a bibilophile. We share a dream of someday having a two-story (or maybe three-story?) library with a spiral staircase in the middle.
During my career in real estate, I have shown hundreds and hundreds of homes, and I am amazed whenever I show a house and there are no books in sight. To me, this is much like not having running water.
Every so often, we purge several boxes of books and either sell them in yard sales or give them away to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I used to try the used bookstore route, but the return is simply not good enough there. I would rather donate them than accept a pittance.
Recently, I realized just how many books we have that I haven’t yet finished. Every room has a good number of books that I want to check out (pun totally intended). With that in mind, I have begun to read much more earnestly these days, in an effort to:
- Learn something new
- Enjoy the simple pleasure of reading
- Become a better writer myself
- Accomplish something tangible that I can control
I probably read roughly two books per week these days. Sometimes I find an author I really like (such as Douglas Coupland, Malcolm Gladwell, or Michael Crichton) and I read everything by that author, even if it means a trip to the library to get them all. Other times, I fixate on a specific topic, and I read all of the most interesting-looking books on that subject.
I impressed my wife this past week by focusing enough to complete both books that I checked out from the library before they were due back! Clearly, I am easily distracted. I usually have 3-5 books in progress – one in the bathroom, one in the car, one on my desk – you get the jist.
My 8-year old daughter clearly has accepted the reading torch, so to speak. Last night, I was getting her in bed, and she was trying to figure out where to put one of her books, which is part of a box series of 20 volumes called “Horrible Histories”. Each of them is about 100-150 pages long. I asked her which ones she had already finished reading.
“All of them.”
Of course you did, sweetie. Of course you did.
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