This shelf of reference books is located within an arm's reach behind me as I sit at my computer desk. I, being of a curious and inquiring mind, have turned to them many, many times. Some, like the tattered dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus are well worn, others not so much.
Lest you think, by looking at the book titles, that I'm overly interested in "English Literature," let me haste to tell you that my day-to-day reading is eclectic, to say the least. I have become enthralled by a highly suspenseful thriller, intrigued by a well-crafted mystery, amused by an English 'cozy', and have spent hours reading non-fiction (usually scientific) books, works of a religious nature, or other more serious tomes. While I readily admit to being a murder mystery fan, I soon learned that there are books in that genre that I do not care to read. Many an otherwise potentially interesting and well-written story has been ruined (in my opinion) by gratuitous violence, unnecessarily coarse language or entirely too descriptive sexual activity. If I encounter any of the above "ruiners," that's the page on which I stop reading, and the book goes back from whence it came. These days,that would be the library.
I have no idea how much money I have spent on books in my life time. More than enough, I'm sure, had I diverted the same amount to a savings account, to keep me in much more comfortable circumstances than I currently enjoy.
When I moved to my present (small) home, I placed thousands of boxed books in a rented storage facility, where they sat for several years. Many were sold (for a pittance) at our church's annual rummage sales, and I donated well over 1,000 to the local Friends of the Library. My personal collection has been pared down to a few choice 'keepers,' probably fewer than 100.
In a long-ago post, I admitted to being a pack rat. I keep all sorts of things, most of which are non-essential but which I cannot bring myself to throw out. While rummaging in my favorite rat's nest, looking for something else, I ran across a combined monthly calendar/address book from 1999. I re-discovered that, in the notes section for every month, I had recorded the books I read and, like a school teacher, gave them a grade. The grades are only a reflection of my personal enjoyment of the book, not intended to indicate in any way the skill of the author -- I am not a literary critic. So, I won't share my "grades" but I will share with you what I read in January, 1999.
The Great Deliverance - Elizabeth George
Pandora's Clock - John J. Nance
The Last Family - John Ramsey Miller
Rose Cottage - Mary Stewart
The Last Day - Glenn Kleier
The Cold Heart of Capricorn - Martha C. Lawrence
The Gourmet Detective - Peter King
Spiced to Death - Peter King (I must have liked his first one)
The Ming and I - Tamar Meyers
Bad Medicine - Aimee Thurlo
Bonjour Miss Seeton - Hamilton Crane
Snow in August - Pete Hamill
January, 1999, was filled, for the most part, with literary fluff. But I least I was reading. In January, 2011, I have completed not one single book. Shame on me!
KINDLE - I wrote here that my sister had gifted me with a Wi-Fi Kindle. Not having a wireless setup in my home, I needed to exchange it for the 3G model, which I did today. The new one is due to arrive on January 19. Amazon was so nice about the exchange that I gave them a bit more business by purchasing a lighted book cover for it. I've already been perusing the list of FREE books available for the Kindle. With limited discretionary funds, I don't think I want to pay for a book that I can obtain from my library. But --- we'll see!
Tomorrow is also a day.