Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

I have been an avid reader since the time I was able to make sense of the printed word as a child. Sainted Mother, an old-fashioned (nowadays) stay-at-home Mom most of the time, was the catalyst for this passion, reading to us and encouraging us to read books ourselves, beginning with simple picture books and gradually increasing the difficulty of the books.

She also took us to the library on a regular basis, and I was always excited to make that trip. Seeing so many books in one place was a thrill, and choosing which ones to read always took time, but it was a pleasant experience nonetheless.

My favorite book as a child was Rabbit and Skunk and the Scary Rock, and I later moved on to those young boy classics, the Hardy Boys adventures, along with the Rick Brandt Science Adventure series, a few Tom Swift books, and some of the Yankee Flier series, about American pilots who fought in World War II. In each of those stories you knew that the fight between Good and Evil would eventually resolve itself with Good managing to triumph. A good story is what we all seek in a book, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. It is always a disappointment when I start a book only to find the author has been unable to communicate the story to me in an interesting manner. This is particularly so when the book is non-fiction. I have lost count of the number of books I have returned unfinished despite the potential of the subject matter. It is difficult to find well-written and interesting books on science, political thought, history, or current events, but I keep trying.

I have been through many "periods" in my readings, starting with fantasy/Sci-Fi because of the works of JRR Tolkien and Fritz Leiber, which I devoured. I read these types almost exclusively before suffering from genre burnout.

My next big "period" was World War II, and I even joined the Military Book Club for several years. Between the book club and the library I read so many books on the topic that I began to see the same stories repeated regularly, and I have only recently ventured back into WWII books.

I have spent the past 20+ years happily ensconced in my favorite genre, historical fiction/mystery, with my general self-imposed "limits" of ancient times through roughly 1400 AD. It began with volume I of the Brother Cadfael series, about a 12th Century monk who had a knack for solving mysteries. I then came across a volume edited by Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of Historical Mysteries, in which he collected a number of short stories in the genre, and gave information about the authors and their related works. This gave me access to a whole new group of authors, many of whom I continue to read to this day. I never suspected there were so many books featuring characters from Ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, pre-Medieval Ireland, and the Medieval period in Europe. many feature fictional characters interacting with well-known historical figures.

I have collected a number of websites that direct me to new releases, and I regularly check my favorite site, Fantastic Fiction for updates on books from over 30 of my favorite authors, as well as over 25,000 authors and 300,000 other books. This site allows me to set my page preferences to UK-published books, as they come out well ahead of when they eventually appear in the US, and many of the writers I read are British.

On my WorldCat online list are currently 160 books I hope to read.

As I said in the title, so many books, so little time!

That was also a phrase on a sweatshirt Sainted Mother gave me; alas, I outgrew a size medium.


  1. I hope you get this type of catagory on Jeopardy someday. And if you happen to still have that shirt you might fit back into it in the near future. Alas, I shall never see the day of medium again.

  2. Alas, also, the sweatshirt went the way of my baseball card collection, although the loss of the sweatshirt is pinned on me, not Sainted Mother this time.