To Those Wonderful Books

I love books. And I amass books. So much so, that between the two of us—Rikke and I—there is no doubt who is in charge of the appropriation and storage of dead trees, which might not have been so paradoxical, had Rikke not been a librarian…

In fact, bringing home new books has stopped being a monetary concern and turned into a volumetric one. Yet, against all odds, I brave both the imminent collapse of this 17th century building at the hands of ‘just one more Gibson, there’s good in him still, I can sense it!’Spook Country. I can’t read that thing, it just feels so… irrelevant. and such worldly concerns as where to store these damned things, and one-click-buy like there was no tomorrow and I had a fallout shelter to stock.

A few ‘art of’ books, a sci-fi romp here and there—which I usually find boring and long-winded, being rather hard to please—the occasional ‘real’ novel—which I inevitably find much more rewarding, and spend twice the time reading—some Alan Moore comics, a batch of Star Wars books—because I can’t be stopped—anything by Michael Herr, a stack of director biographies, some books on writing books—keeping the dream alive since 1978—and the occasional technical manual of sorts, preferably ‘the definitive guide’ to something.

I wish I went wider. Insightful political commentaries or something similarly serious. Hell, even a self-help book here and there. But I don’t go wide, I go deep. No, not in the ‘4am-drunk-philosophy-deep’-sense. Rather, the completist-deep.

It’s not exactly new to rave against such utterances, but still; in spite of what Steve“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.” # might think, some people do read (you go Khoi!). You probably know a few of them. You might be one of them. I sure wish I was.

This is the real paradox, since I love reading as much as I love the books themselves. But in the cold hard light of day, I simply have too many other ‘things’ that creep up and peck away at my time, so that when night-time rolls around, I strip down and crawl under the covers, I either have no time at all or no scarcely 20-30 minutes for a small chunk of whatever book I’m currently deluding myself that I’ll eventually finish.

Insane! Because as much as I love the books themselves—the design, the layout, the type and all of that, which the American publishers do so much better than we Europeans can ever hope for—I love to read just as much! Hell, our trip to the summer house a few weeks back was literally all about reading books and watching films. That’s what we did, and that was all we did, and I loved every minute of it, finishing several booksThe Pixar Story by David A Price, The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, Skywalking by Dale Pollock—which I wrote about—and The Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K Dick. Oh, and some comics, but they don’t really count for this. and thinking to myself these very thoughts: Gee, I know what? I should really put some effort into reading more.

But it’s one of those annoying things that is apparently easier said than done, which is evidenced by the fact that on this perfectly readable sunday evening, half-past nine, instead of reading Blindness or Citizen Spielberg two books on my active reading list—I’ll let the ones I’m ‘passively’ reading go uncounted for now—I’m writing an entry on my blog about not being able to find the time for reading…

How about that.