May 29, 2011

Wherein I Learn To Read

Lately I've been doing something that I haven't done much of for a long time.

No, not dating. I'm reading books for fun.

As a kid- pretty much from the time I learned my ABC's- I was a bookworm. I always had a book nearby, and went through them at an unbelievable pace for my age. I was the kid who would walk out of the library with an armful of books and one already in my face. Even into high school I did quite a bit of voluntary reading, although the garbage that I had to read for school started to put a damper on my enthusiasm.

Then, I went to college. Between my engineering course load and this newly discovered high-speed internet, I had little time for reading anything that wasn't either electronic or vital to my academic survival. I stopped reading books.

Now that I'm out of school and have my time to myself for all but a modest 40 hours per week, I've started to get back into reading. In the meantime I've spent quite a bit of my free time online in various ways, so it's not like I'm unused to reading, but there's a big difference between browsing the web and sitting down with a big fat paper book.

A few months ago, as I was starting to compile a list of books I'd been wanting to read, I was directed to Goodreads - a social web app for book readers. I populated my to-read "bookshelf" with the books I had thought of, then browsed some of the user-created lists and recommended titles and before I knew it I had well over 100 books to read! The site offers a 2011 Reading Challenge in which you commit to reading a number of books for the year and track your progress. I challenged myself to a book per month, which for you non-math folks means 12 for the year. So far I've finished 3 and I'm about 2/3 through another. That puts me more than a full book behind, but I intend to catch up.

Goodreads isn't the only place where I've been browsing shelves. My local library (like many, I suspect) has an ongoing used book sale where you can buy donated books for 50 cents to help support the library. I don't know how many dollars I've spent there in the last several months, but I've already run out of room on my bookshelf. Just today I hit the jackpot:

Pictured: $4 well spent.

Those are 8 well-known sci-fi and fantasy titles that I found all at once. I couldn't believe it. The first four books of The Wheel of Time. The third and fourth books of the Dune series. The first of the Heritage of Shannara. And for the first time, my very own copy of The Hobbit. What's more, I had already picked up the second Dune book to complement my copy of the original, and two thirds of the Shannara trilogy. Not to mention several other unrelated titles from Tom Clancy to CS Lewis. I'm building a fairly complete library just from 50 cent used books!

Of course, I'm also reviewing the occasional book for Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program. (I'll say it again: I really dislike the new name.) I may post updates as I finish ones from my personal list, but for the most part I'm just reading for my own enjoyment. And also to practice for my own epic fantasy novel. But that's another topic.


Brittany November said...

Hi-hi. It's guitargirl.

Wow. I wish my library was awesome. :/

Anyways! I'm happy to say that since I done gradjeeated, I've been able to spend more time reading too! And by "reading" I don't mean "reading spreadsheets" or "reading A&P texts" but reading cool stuff. :) Perhaps I shall join the reading challenge as well...

She Will Move Mountains said...

I can totally identify! I just myself started reading again for fun, and I've also joined the BookSneeze program. My library is HUGE! I have about 4 bookshelves worth of books, a tub of them in the attic and boxes of Nancy Drew books that are hidden away...whew! Yeah, I have a lot of books and it doesn't help that I've been frequenting used book stores lately like I'll never be able to step foot inside one again! LOL!

Good luck on your reading ventures my fellow bibliophile comrade! =)


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