Sunday, January 13, 2008
I know it, I'm certifiable. I buy books. I spend a lot of money on them. And I realize that several months ago I said that I'd stop. But I can't. I won't.
Reading has always been my life preserver. My hold on to sanity. The light that guides me through the darkness. My first love. My passion.
People have complimented me lots of times in my life by saying that I am an intelligent person. I have this theory about that. I think that most of us, with the exception of a small percentage of tragically unfortunate people, are born with the ability to be intelligent individuals. We have the necessary tools to learn to reason and to be smart. But the sad thing is, the brain is a muscle and like any muscle, it must be used. Reading for pleasure isn't the only way to keep a healthy, active mind, but it's one of the good ways. Too many people, far too many people, let their precious minds decay. Like atrophied muscles in the body, an inactive mind grows weak. Television is the leading culprit in most cases, and other forms of media follow closely. Add in the dumbing down that most peer pressure leads to and the unending tedium that so many jobs inflict upon lives and you have a nation of nincompoops.
On the other hand, would a smart person spend so much on books?
Well, maybe. But I've stopped with the expensive limited editions. And I use the library whenever I can. But yeah, I buy a lot of books and I plan to continue to do so. It's what I do. It's what I will continue to do.
One of my biggest financial setbacks has been my obsessive habit of DVD collecting. I've spent a bloody fortune on them. Well, that's going to stop. Well, mostly stop. From now on I intend to cut that waaaay back.
I used to read all the time. Every night, almost. When I bought my first VCR, I almost completely stopped reading. And for years I read with a lot less frequency than I watched movies. That's going to change too. I'm sick of it.
Don't get me wrong...I still love movies. But I plan to see more at the theater than on home video. At least for a while. I intend to read more books in 2008 than in any other year of my life. The year isn't but a couple of weeks old, and I've completed two books. I want to do a lot better than that. And I will.
I'm excited about it. So much so that I've spent a lot of money this week on books. What have I bought? Uh...
Fools Rush In, by Ed Gorman. Trade hardcover.
Antediluvian Tales, by Poppy Z. Brite. Trade hardcover.
Snowbound/Games, by Bill Pronzini. Trade paperback.
Dark Delicacies 2, edited by Jeff Gelb and Del Howison. Trade paperback.
Seldom Seen in August, by Kealan Patrick Burke. Signed, limited chapbook.
With my apologies to the independent booksellers, I bought the books at Amazon, where I get a substantial discount. I want to support the genre, but I need to watch my own budget and it goes a lot further when I get discounts. Oh and I bought the chapbook direct from White Noise Press.
I put the challenge forth to you too. Read more. Fewer hours in front of the TV set. Not much time making small talk with uninteresting people. Let's raise our own personal bars of literacy and share it here.