Do you like book lists? I do! I like all those book memes people post, I like book trivia quizzes, I like to pursue those "X-number of Books To Read Before You [fill in the blank]." I find I've wandered into the little discussed sport of COMPETITIVE READING! I get e-mails from Oprah's book club, I check out Book Movement, have an account at Good Reads (and an abandoned one at Library Thing). I read what everyone has on their Nightstand this month, make 5 minutes for books and make sure I see what the local library book club is reading. All the while I'm mentally checking off those I've read and constantly adding to my personal "To Read" list of my "Best Books Ever" list. These are sort of like a birder's LIFE LIST.
I'm on track to earn a varsity letter jacket in reading!! I scavenge the net for new and forthcoming titles with the mania of coupon queen or 90s day trader! You have to be fit to endure this life! This is not a sport for sissies! My training regime includes Scrabble, word search puzzles, browsing the dictionary and reading the blog Esoteric Curiosa for it's vocabulary words (well, and the articles, too of course!). I also challenge myself, by forcing myself to read something out of my normal comfort zone, or pick a classic to work on, or something like that. I've been reading Ivanhoe for almost 3 years now, but enjoy it when I do pick it up. Charlotte Mason was right--short bits are remembered better. I'm doing Pilgrim's Progress and now, Les Miserables the same way--little by little.
I'm so into it this sport that I keep a reading log (my "life list," if you will), started B on keeping one (although she rarely, if ever, reads anymore.....) and have a blog to chart my progress thru the Ambleside booklists (I don't track the picture books) called "A Lifelong Learner in Ambleside." I have created several Listmania! lists on Amazon (which are linked in the left sidebar) and which I try to keep up-to-date.
As a librarian I recommend and review books for adult college students. I have just started to write reviews for a librarian's professional journal. I try never to miss an NPR appearance by Nancy Pearl--the Michael Jordan of Librarians. Her sensational Book Crush (children's and young adult books) and Book Lust volumes and blog seriously up the ante in competitive reading and are among the premier resources for competitive reading enthusiasts. (I DO track other book/reader blogs too!)
My current favorite, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, began like a lot of books today as a blog. Author Nina Sankovitch created a blog to track her year of reading a book a day (approximately). I can't say I'm truly thrilled with the story of her reading (too much is said about the books for my taste), but I am enthralled with the long, wonderful list of books--many international books, too. Americans are totally centered on our own world--we even put ourselves in the middle of the World map, for heaven's sake, spiltting Asia in two to do so! So I'm frantically sending out S.O.S.-calls via Interlibrary Loan to try to find some of the many, many gems on this list.
Unlike many of the more common list, I didn't find a lot on here that I'd already read. Now that IS a good thing--new "training" material for my "sport." Here's MY "already read" list from Sankovich's Year of Magical Reading:
Are You Somebody by Nuala O'Faolain (admittedly, I couldn't get thru this one. Rare for a memoir.)
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (need to request it again and finish it--couldn't renew it)
Christmas in Plains by Jimmy Carter
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Schaffer & Barrows
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
Olive Kitterage by Elizabeth Strout (gave up--am I the only one who found this too dull??)
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
The Servants' Quarters by Lynn Freed (another one I need to get back & finish)
Silks by Dick and Felix Francis
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
So? How about you? Think you've got what it takes to be a star on the Varsity Reading Team??
Admit it, it's way more fun than getting brained by a softball.