Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On reading

My wife and I are voracious readers. When we moved in together, our book collections collided like two large, slow-moving barges. We were (are) literally swamped with books -- hard covers, paperbacks, textbooks. You name it, we have it.

It was also stunning how similar our reading tastes were. If you don't believe me, take a look at any of the dozen or so bookshelves in the house and you will see duplicates of at least half the books. Mine and hers. Ain't that sweet?

We go through periods where I read more than she does. But I'll admit it: She out-reads me. The woman always has her nose in a book. Always. Me, I read most every day and go through two or three novels a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

She reads a novel a week, sometimes more. And our 12-year-old son might read more than the both of us combined.

I also admit that I have a stack of books on the dresser next to our bed that has grown precariously large. It wobbles and sways and is always threatening to fall down upon my head while I sleep. Probably adding Stephen King's Under The Dome to the top of the pile wasn't the smartest move, since it weighs about as much as a 1974 Ford Thunderbird.

The pile represents every book I've read since last spring. All are new purchases, and here's the deal: We no longer have room for them! None of them. Our bookshelves are double-rowed as it is (books in front of books!).

While the Wife and I like many of the same books and authors, we have our separate faves, too. She likes what I sometimes lovingly call "chick books," those romantic books (not romance per se, though) that are almost exclusively written by women. I read Lawrence Block Scudder detective novels when I'm bored. I figure that makes us even.

But we share a love of many classics, along with Anne Tyler books, Pat Conroy books and most anything by Tom Clancy. I know! My wife is a Clancy freak. Go figure.

The point I'm getting at here (laboriously, I admit) is that in order to write well, one must read. A lot.

I know many so-called writers in the journalism world who brag that they don't read for relaxation or enjoyment. How sad for them. I can only imagine how much better their writing would be if they read more.

So crack open a good book and kick back. You deserve it.

Oh, and please comment and let me know your faves. Maybe we can work out a swap. If nothing else, I can maybe get that pile down to a more manageable height. Like, say, five feet or so.


  1. Dean Koontz is the idol upon which I heap my worship. I also enjoy Frank Herbert, various fantasy tomes, Mists of Avalon, but my favorite cuddle up with a blanket book that I re-read is King's 'Eyes of the Dragon.'

  2. Christi,
    I like Koontz and King. I've also become a Neil Gaiman fan recently. I'm currently reading American Gods, and loving it.

  3. I loooooooooooooooooooooooove Pat Conroy... Some of my other faves are Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Maeve Binchy, Charles Dickens, Laurell K Hamilton, Stephenie Meyer, JK Rowling, Terry Goodkind... and so on... and so on... (I love books)

  4. Kristy, I also loooooooooooooooove Pat Conroy, and I love Maeve Binchy. I've read all her stuff dozens of times. I also love Anne Tyler and Ann Rivers Siddons. I'm a Potter nut but can't bring myself to read Twilight. Also I'm partial to Towery.

  5. I have seen the Towery book collection, and you are correct, it is impressive. I have gotten back into reading books. For a long time I didn't feel I had time, and now I have started making the time. Anything Nicholas Sparks writes I run out and get that day. I am currently re-reading Catcher in the Rye, in memory of J.D. I still have the version with my notes that we read in seventh-grade.

  6. Dan Simmons, Tess Gerritsen, Michael Connelly, Greg Iles, JK Rowling (no Twilight here either). I fell off the Stephen King bandwagon several years ago -- what post-1980s King should I read?

  7. Jennifer - I've never read Anne Tyler or Ann Siddons, I'll have to look them up. I always read everything a good author writes and then I exhaust my supply... so I need new writers!

    And I can't wait to become a fan of Towery, lol

  8. I prefer non-fiction and one of my favorite books that I've read hundreds of times (I like to re-read books over and over) is Hell's Angels, by Hunter Thompson. I also like biographies and I'm currently reading the biography of Keith Moon simply titled "Moon" by Tony Fletcher.

  9. Michele,
    I read everything Stephen King wrote from Salem's Lot (didn't like Carrie) to Pet Semetary and It in the mid-80s. He pretty much sucked after that UNTIL Cell two or three yers ago. I would heartily recommend Cell and his new one, Under the Dome, which is his best book since The Stand. Seriously.
    I have both in hardcover, if you want to borrow them. We can swap them for my checkbook! ;)

  10. I do enjoy a good read. Recently I am digging myself out of a hole of library requests I found myself in. They just all came at the same time and now I owe the library money! I recently culled my book shelf to get rid of the ones I really didn't care for or wouldn't recommend. I only managed to pull off a couple but it was enough to make room for the couple I just finished. I recently got myself off the book buying habit. Now I can use that money for something better. Like alcohol.

  11. Sadly, I'm light on books. There's no bookstore within 40 miles that isn't for the community college and the only library is in the high school.

  12. Josin,
    That's what the Internet is for. ;)

  13. I think I stopped S. King after Rose Madder. I got Cell from the library today. I would love to borrow Under the Dome sometime. Checkbook I can return anytime -- have your wife give me a call.