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Today in My History

2000:  Blue Christmas
2001:  A Snoopy Christmas
A Show Bizzy Day
I'm Too Old for This
Ding Dong, Merrily on High
Collateral Information

2006In the Eye of the Beholder
2007: Joy! to the world

2008:  I Want to Cry

Grinch.jpg (25928 bytes)Our 2009 Holiday Letter

Santaland Diaries

Books Read in 2009
Updated: 12/13
"The Copper Bracelet"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 9/4/09)


Petco Santa from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

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Stupid, Callous, Homophobic, Hateful Legislation
This is Amazing--Tragic, but Amazing
Today's the Day
Web Side Story

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New York Trip

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Airy Persiflage

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15 December 2009

In 2004, I realized that I really wasn't reading nearly as much as I used to, so I started keeping a database of the books I'd read and the number of pages I read throughout the year.  I was shocked at the end of the year to realize I'd only read seventeen books, or 5,888 pages.  I was the person who used to read a book or two a week.  This was just a little more than one a month.

I determined to do better, but in 2005 I only read thirteen books.   I am almost ashamed to admit that.  5,313 pages.

I'm not sure what caused the increase in 2006, other than perhaps being determined to concentrate on reading.  I more than doubled 2005's number, twenty-seven books, 8,465 pages.

2007 logged in with a whopping (relatively speaking) thirty-six books (11,191 pages), due in very large part to my mother's accident and the fact that I spent a month at her house and had a lot of time to read, since she doesn't watch much TV and internet access was horrible.

I back-slid a bit in 2008, only twenty-six books (8,414 pages), but made up for it this year finishing thirty-two books (>15,000 pages) and I will probably finish at least one more before the end of the year.

There were two huge changes at the end of 2007 and all of 2008 that made increasing my reading possible.  Reading had become a struggle, with my cataract problem so first, I had a few books on tape that I could listen to in the car while driving to and from Santa Barbara.  It may be cheating to rank listening to a book with reading a book, but it's still following the plot or theme of a book from beginning to end, so in my mind it counts.  Nine of the books I finished this year were books on tape.

But the biggest help to reading more has been the kindle app for my iTouch.  I scoffed when Amazon came out with the Kindle.  I thought it was a HUGE waste of money and calculated how many actual books I could buy with the $300 they were charging for the Kindle at that time.  But then I discovered the kindle app for the iTouch.  It was free and used the same books that the $300 Kindle did.  The books cost no more than $9, many cost less and many were free.   It was slightly more complicated to download to your iTouch (for me, with no in-house wifi, it involved going somewhere to a wifi spot and downloading...I got lots of coffee at Mishka's coffee shop until I realized all I needed to do was pass by the store and download at the same time!), but certainly not difficult.

Voyager.jpg (26952 bytes)The biggest difference I found using the Kindle app was that I could adjust the type size!   These old eyes don't see as well as they used to.  I just finished Diana Gabaldon's "Voyager" last night.  It's over 1,000 pages long and I just happened to have the actual book on my bookshelf.  But when I went to look at the book, the typeface was so tiny I had to strain to read it and I know there was no way I would have finished the book--or even started it.  It also was a huge book to carry around to read while standing in line at the post office. Yet it was a great book and I sat in the family room yesterday glued to it until I finished (sometime after midnight), sitting at my desk with the thing plugged in because the battery had run low and my battery recharger (which Tom bought for me for my Europe trip) wasn't charged.

I don't know when I stopped reading a lot.  I was the kid who always had her nose in a book, who never took less than 6 books out of the library at any one time and devoured them.

The thing about reading, to my warped mind, is that if you're just sitting and reading somehow it seems more slothful than if I'm just sitting at the computer with the TV on in the background.  Multi-tasking, even if it's all non-productive, is somehow OK where single-tasking, when the single task is reading, isn't.  There is no logic to it.

But nobody is likely to come into my office and say "so you're still at the computer, huh?" or "Did you start another game of Scrabble?" whereas if I'm just sitting in a chair reading those questions can be asked of reading.

The nice thing about audio books is that they do allow for multi-tasking.  For example, I got my desk cleaned today while listening to the end of "The Copper Bracelet," a job I had been trying to get around to doing for weeks.

As for the book itself....well, if I hadn't needed to clean off my desk, I might not have finished it.  And that would not have been a bad thing.   Not exactly the best thing I'd finished this year!

I know that by a lot of people's standards (Char's and Joan's for example!), I'm a piker when it comes to books devoured in a year.  But I'm doing what I can!



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