Monday, November 19, 2007

A Bookish Meme

Nearly two months ago (eek!) Kristen tagged me for a book meme. I usually jump right on board with a good meme, but two things slowed me down this time. First of all, Kristen suggested that this one required "more soul-searching than usual". ("Soul searching"! Oh, the horror! Look: I've already done my time in therapy - no small amount of time, okay? - must I continue to soul search?!). Second of all, my love for reading is nearly as strong as the likelihood that I will forget what I have read within about 48 hours. Seriously.

However, the fact is that I do love to read, and I do so whenever I can. From childhood on (much like my elder son), I have walked out of the library with a huge stack of books only to ask two days later, "When can we go back to the library?" This, according to NPR's All Things Considered, is unusual; below is an excerpt from today's story:

"One thing is certain: Americans—of either gender—are reading fewer books today than in the past. A poll released last month by The Associated Press and Ipsos, a market-research firm, found that the typical American read only four books last year, and one in four adults read no books at all.

A National Endowment for the Arts report found that only 57 percent of Americans had read a book in 2002 - a four percentage-point drop in a decade. Book sales have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Among avid readers surveyed by the AP, the typical woman read nine books in a year, compared with only five for men. Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography."

This report reminded me that I am overdue on the book meme, and also left me feeling that those of us who actually are avid readers have a responsibility to promote it. So here goes:

Total Number of Books?

Whether this means total number read or total number in the house matters not. Either way, it's too many to count. Our bookshelves - which are everywhere - are double stacked in many places (both adult and children's literature). I am always reading something, and the pile of books that wait on my nightstand is ever-growing. I try to alternate between fiction and literature that relates to my work (e.g., "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Aspergers" which I reviewed here), but this is not a strict rule and does not always apply. For instance, right now I am really enjoying a "for fun" novel after so many work-related books.

I have an account at Shelfari, which is really cool and quite addictive! (Let me know if you can't view my shelf without an invitation - I'll invite you.) My colleague and I are also creating a Shelfari account that catalogs all of the professional books we own so that we can share them with the families at the clinic - a lending library of sorts - and some of those are currently mixed in on my personal shelf. It's a work in progress.

Last Book Read?

"Send in the Idiots: Stories from the Other Side of Autism" by Kamran Nazeer. To be honest, I didn't finish it. It wasn't doing it for me. Right now, however, I am thoroughly enjoying Anne Tyler's "Digging to America" and look forward to reading more of it by the fireplace as soon as I am done with this post!

Last Book Bought?

Well, I bought a couple of Thanksgiving books for the kids today but we won't count those. I recently bought the Anne Tyler book I'm reading; also on my nightstand sit "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and "Eat Pray Love", both of which are on loan from friends and unread. I have historically been a strong proponent of the public library, but I find Chicago's online system to be quite backward after the techno-savvy library system in San Francisco, so I don't use it as much as I'd like.

Five Meaningful Books?

I could really let this one drive me nuts. Instead, I'm going to jump in and not over-think it. For once.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Tag 5 Others

I'm not sure who has already done this, but I'll give it a try:

Mike at Cry it Out: Adventures of a Stay-at-Home-Dad
Christopher at Blowing and Drifting
Elise at Snarky Squab
Niksmom at Maternal Instincts
Lori at Spinning Yellow

Happy Reading!


Elise said...

Ooh, I love me a book meme. Thanks for the tag.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Great lists - I love seeing what people like!

I will do this meme, I will do this meme, I will do this meme, I will - what you mean I actually have to write this and not just wish it to happen?

Seriously, thanks for the tag, I will start thinking (and counting) now!

Maddy said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that is usually two months behind. Horray for you!

kristen said...

Oh, I'm so glad you tagged Lori and Niksmom. I can't wait to see what they come up with. I'll check out the others, too.

And you are right. Those of us who love to read need to promote it as much as we can. The stats on this are just so disheartening. How could people not read? Turn off the TV and the internet and I bet those numbers shoot right up...

cry it out! said...

Oh yes, I remember your review of Robison's book -- nice job! And thanks for the tag, but I don't think you'll ever get me to admit, in public, that I read romance novels ... oh wait.