Kleene Star (kleenestar) wrote,
Kleene Star
kleenestar

Reading List 2008 (5/5)

This week’s reading:

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

I read these books every year, as a birthday gift to myself. I started doing this back when I was nine years old, and first got my hands on a copy of Lord of the Rings. I remember it belonged to my then-babysitter, who lent me the series. Each book was a different color (I think Fellowship was red) and I read them until they fell apart. I had to buy my babysitter a new copy! Which, in a way, made it among the first books I ever bought for myself - even if the copies I “bought” had been seriously screwed up by my enthusiastic reading and re-reading.

At the time, reading and re-reading Lord of the Rings was just part of how I lived. I never had enough books - never, never, never, even when I was allowed to raid my dad’s bookshelves. I just read too fast, too passionately and too much! So every year for my birthday, I promised myself a wonderful treat. I would read a book that I knew, no matter how many times I read it, could transport me into a different world.

Now, of course, I have all the books I could possibly want. At some level, I think I’m continuing the tradition for the sake of tradition. It’s not as though I don’t enjoy it! I find something wonderful and new in the books each time. But I don’t need to read Lord of the Rings every year, or save it for my birthday. I just like the notion of having a thread that reaches back to nine-year-old me, and this huge amount of texture and richness to the history of my reading life.

Also: someone mentioned that I read in a very goal-oriented way because I keep a list like this one. Despite my list-making, this isn’t the case!! I started blogging my books because I was freaking out about a problem I was having. I read so much that I couldn’t easily retrieve memories of what I’d read. I could tell you all about a book if you gave me the title, but if you asked me what I read last month? I couldn’t give you a single name, most of the time. My brain doesn’t work well with that kind of question at the best of times, and with a huge tide of reading material in my life, it was pretty much overwhelmed.

So it’s not that I read because I have some kind of list or goal - though it does occasionally amuse me to make jokes as if that were the case. It’s exactly the opposite. I want to be able to savor and remember what I read, but my book-retrieval memory only works from title to content, not from time-period to content or title. In service of better and more pleasurable reading, I keep this list. But the real goal is the leap of the heart when I see a title I loved. If it interfered with my ability to completely leave the world when I’m reading, I’d ditch my accounting in a second.

Since I started this project, I’ve also wondered if this project can serve a second purpose. I’m trying to pare down my book collection, which, when you’re me, is a hugely intimidating task. I hate letting go of books, precisely because I need to see the book, or at the very least hear the title, in order to re-experience the joy of reading. I’ve been very cautiously exploring whether a list like this one can serve the purpose that my vast library does, at least for the books I loved the least. So far the verdict is a cautious maybe.

Happy reading in 2008!

Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments