Funny the World...
So many books....so little time...
April 9, 2000
I glanced to my left and caught a glimpse of the book shelf here in this office (this is a slice from the center of it). Books are two-deep on each shelf and there is a whole room full of bookcases upstairs which look about the same. I am addicted to books. I've always been addicted to books. If I stopped doing everything else in my life today and started reading, I wouldn't even make a dent in the collection of books we have, yet I keep buying in the vain hope that someday I will have time to read them all. I think the IRS should allow us to claim Amazon.com as a dependent.
When I was a kid I lived in the library and read my way through every animal book ever written. Then I moved on to "career books" (Sue Barton, RN, etc.) and then romance novels, but these days I'm more into mystery and suspense (favorite authors include Dick Francis, Mary Higgins Clark, Robin Cook and Patricia Cornwell. I have my spurts of Sue Grafton, but I find a little of Kinsey Mulhone goes a long way). But right now I'm not reading any of these. I generally have about 3 or 4 books going at once and now is no exception. I'm finishing Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress, which is both silly and serious--and you'll never look at Tupperware in quite the same way again. I'm also reading Jumping off the Planet, the newly published book by my friend David Gerrold (the Trouble with Tribbles guy), who made me a character in the book (I'm the lesbian lover of one of the characters). It's a walk-on part, but fun to find myself there. I'm carrying Living Sober, an AA publication that a friend sent to me to help me understand his dedication to his sobriety. And finally, I'm reading a new biography of Judy Garland, written by Gerald Clarke and based, apparently, on some newly discovered tapes and notebooks made by Garland herself, in anticipation of writing her autobiography.
I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is biographies. Oh nothing lofty like the Diary of Samuel Pepys, or Profiles in Courage, or even Roots. Nah--I really do like biographies of actors, singers, and the other folks I used to read about in Photoplay magazine when I was a kid. At the left is a shelf devoted to stars' biographies, about a quarter of which I have actually read. I've probably reached near saturation now as far as purchasing, since I stopped being interested in current stars when they started looking like they were stamped on an assembly line. (Though I did just order Sidney Poitier's latest book yesterday). But folks like Paul Muni (now there was a good bio!), George Burns, Rosemary Clooney's newest autobiography (fascinating), the surprising Susan Hayward--and of course that wonderful biography of Lucille Ball, Lucy in the Afternoon, by Jim Brochu. Love it all. Guess I'm just a voyeur at heart.
My collection of books about Judy Garland alone has its own shelf (this photo is missing a couple, which are here in my office for reference). I became a Garland fan in 1954 when I first saw A Star Is Born. I've been a fan ever since and even met her once.
Most of my reading is done when I'm traveling. I also buy books on vacations. I drive Walt crazy in London when I buy hard back books to bring home--it about doubles the weight of our suitcase, but they are usually books I can't get here in this country (such as a for-England only re-release of David's The Making of The Trouble with Tribbles, which I found in Cambridge), or books like Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, which concerned his travels around the same small towns in England that we were traveling through--what a fun read that was!
Bryson, by the way, is such a fun author. His The Mother Tongue, which is a history of the development of the English language was one of the best books I read the year I read it. I gave it to several friends as gifts that year. Not dry and scholarly at all, but a fascinating look at our language.
The reason I don't read more than I do is probably pretty obvious--I spend too much time on line writing about why I don't have enough time to read. I just realized that if I'd sat down with Crazy in Alabama and read for the time it's taken me to write this journal entry, I would be finished with that book by now and moving on to the one that's waiting in the wings: Sleeping with your Gynecologist, which I bought just because I couldn't resist the title.
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created 4/9/00 by Bev Sykes