Reading Through the End of the Year

It just so happens that I am on vacation through the end of the year. Since what book I am reading often reminds me of what I was doing when I was reading it, I try to keep things a bit lighter when on vacation, although it doesn’t always work out that way. As we […]

Backlots of the Mind

When I read book, I see what’s happening in my imagination. Over the years, I seem to have developed a stock of stages that serve as the default placeholder for many common settings that I come across. I call these stages the backlots of the mind. I was recently re-reading Stephen King’s novella “1922” which […]

Reading Goals for 2019

I didn’t have a specific reading goal for 2018. That is, I didn’t say to myself, I am going to read 50 books this year. Way back when I started keeping my list of books in 1996, I did have a goal: Read one book per week. It seemed reasonable at the time, and yet […]

Biblio Curiositas

Sitting on the sideline at my son’s basketball practice I was reminded of a mild malady from which I suffer: biblio curiositas. A medical dictionary might describe such an illness as a sudden, urgent desire to know what it is that person sitting next to me is reading. I’m paraphrasing, of course. Still, I find […]

1,000 Books To Read Before You Die

The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not […]

Vacationing in Bookland

It recently occurred to me that books are like vacations. There is often an extended period of anticipation, during which I eagerly look at the calendar each morning to see how much longer before the book comes out. Then there is the journey, the act of reading the book and experiencing all it has to […]

The Character of Books

When I started reading in the late 1970s, all books were on paper. There were hardcover books, and paperbacks. There were trade paperbacks, and an occasionally rare edition. But they were all paper. I began keeping a list of the books I read in 1996. Even then, it wasn’t until my 408th book in June […]

The 17-Year Itch: Or, Waiting for the Sequel

I have a love/hate relationship with sequels. With very good books, I always want more. In nonfiction, this could be something like Edmund Morris’s biography of Theodore Roosevelt, which came out in 3 separate volumes spanning several years. For fiction, Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles comes to mind. I loved the first two books in the […]

On Book Ratings and Reviews

When it comes to book ratings I am not fan. One reason I have been reluctant to use a system like Goodreads is because it seems to be centered around a 5-star rating system. (Another reason is the mishmash user interface that is overly busy and confusing.) What’s wrong with a 5-star rating system? As […]

People Used to Be Travelers

Sometimes a single line from a book really knocks me in the gut. Earlier this week I was reading Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. Adams was chatting with his guide, an Australian named John, when John said, “People used to be travelers. Now they are tourists.” I paused to jot down the […]

The Butterfly Effect of Reading

When it comes to discussion of books the three words I most dread are, “You should read….” I have developed a process for discovering books I want to read and I put my entire trust in that process. I call it the Butterfly Effect of Reading. I believe it is a result of the freedom […]

The Story of My Life

Over the last twenty five years, I have kept a journal more often than I have not. Over the last 14 I have written more than 6,000 posts on this blog. Over the last 11 years I have tweeted more than 25,000 times. There’s a lot for me to look back on if I wanted […]