To Be Read lists

1 post

Book Lists & Piles, Done With Style


So you’ve got a book list. Congratulations and don’t we all. It’s like having an idea. Pretty cheap, as tricks go, but it’s all too abstract. What really counts is something entirely more concrete: a book pile. Now we’re talking. Now we’re cooking with gas. Now we’ve got something we can stack six ways to Sunday and push over five ways to Friday.

Goodreads has a “Want To Read” shelf its participants can use. It’s a rather useless tool when abused, and abused it is. Any book a reader finds in the least interesting gets clicked onto the dreaded “Want To Read” shelf until, soon enough, it numbers first in the hundreds and then in the thousands.

Abstract, I tell you. Nothingness. A joke no one’s laughing at. (And assuredly something authors like me put no capital in, as “Want To Read” is about as far from “Just Purchased on Amazon” as Poughkeepsie is from Kathmandu.)

But where were we? Ah, yes. Lists and piles. This is the time of year, my friends. The time of year when newspapers publish their lovely “Summer Reading Lists.” But really, who needs a newspaper for news like this? We’re all quite capable of making a can-do list of our own literary desires, thank you. What does some reporter know (other than where to buy a good sandwich down around the corner from the office)?

My summer reading list got a jump start yesterday by taking pile form. It’s a bit premature, yes. I still have five days of work to go, yes. But close enough. Like horse shoes and hand grenades.

Meaning? I now have nine books, which have made like Proteus and transformed from abstract list to concrete pile. I can look at them. I can touch them. I can knock them over without offending them. (Readers get such cheap jollies.)

Better still, I can determine which to read first and arrange them in TBR (To Be Read) order. I can pile them horizontally or stand them on their feet on a shelf (straighten that spine, young book!). I can read first pages of all nine as if each is coming before a king to make its lovely plea and state its wily case.

And best of all? I can plot what books to ADD in the next five days. Are nine books enough, after all, to last all of July and August? It is to laugh. And a rhetorical question in the best way.

Next post: What books are IN my TBR pile, plus how they’re getting along in such close quarters. Hint: Seven of them are poetry books. Can you tell what one of my summer resolutions is?