Monday, January 24, 2011

Bookmark, please

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Last night, DH wanted to watch Iron Chef and I did not (something about loud clanging things and a ticking clock not being terribly conducive to the falling asleep process) so I removed myself to the office for some petting of my bookshelves.

While I'm not saying the reading respite is entirely over, I did read five chapters of "The Night Riders" by Hannah Howell in the The Immortal Highlander anthology. I've been keeping notes on this not-reading phase and had earlier listed things I would like to find in my next read. An anthology was high on the list because sometimes, much as I love the big, thick books, I am too pooped to turn that many pages and want to get from once upon a time to happily ever after in relatively quick fashion. Since I didn't want to have to access the WABAC machine part of my brain, a reread made sense, and since this story world takes place in late 15th century Scotland, same as the historical portion of a current ms of my own, that's where my brain already is for a good part of the working day. I'd started reading the Howell/Sands anthologies when they first came out, but wandered off around the third volume. This seemed like the right time to come back.

I didn't consciously plan to read anything last night, but that is the way I planned for things to happen - the not-planning. The important thing, I've found, is that for reading for pleasure to be worthwhile, I have to change the way I look at things. While it is important to keep up with the market if one expects to work in that market, when it comes to reading for pleasure, the books serve me; I don't serve the books. There needs to be, at least in my corner of the world, a balance.

Do I have to read the books that are getting all the buzz? No. Be culturally literate, yes, but it's not worth tying myself in a knot so that I can't fill my creative well. Do I need to keep current with the unending proliferation of unending series? No. They'll do fine without me, for the most part. Rereading is good. New books are good. The right book for me to be reading for pleasure at any given time is...the one I want to read. That easy. Any others will wait, and if the wait is long, there are other things I can do in the meantime.

Last night, I didn't spend that long sitting cross-legged on the floor, digging through my shelves, petting covers, until I plucked something from its shelf and flipped to the first page and had that "yes, this, now" feeling that I'd been missing. I did scout out a few future reads, but that is subject to change. I'm allowed.

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