The last few years I’ve put myself on this crazy reading challenge. I discovered the “1001 Before you Die” series, and decided to make my goal to not just read the 1001 books but every book that was ever included in a new edition of the list, which I think came out to around 1500 books. I started on my reading quest with a simple goal of 52 books a year, one book a week. Easy, right? I even downloaded this intense spreadsheet. Of all the books that calculates how old you’ll be by the time you finish the list. The first year i completely surpassed my goal and read around 65 books. I was unemployed that year. The following two years I wasn’t as speedy in my reading and finished around 40 books. This last year my reading list fell off. For starters, I was using this website called List of Bests to track my yearly reading. I was in love with site and I had about 100 more lists i was getting book suggestions from besides the original 1001. It was very user friendly and I got such a sense of accomplishment from checking finished books off and tracking my progress. Then last year the site announced it would no longer be running and it would self destruct or do whatever it is that websites do when they die. I was crushed. I reluctantly moved my shelf over to Goodreads. I know its the site that everyone prefers. But for some reason I’ve never been too fond of it. I can’t get the hang of it, especially on mobile. So sadly I have no idea how many books I read last year, which bothers me more than it should any normal person. I’m guessing it was less than 40, maybe 35. Goodreads is saying it was only 15 but I know that can’t be right.
Anyway, the second reason my reading quest had hit a lull is that 2014 was an odd year for me. I was definitely busy. Besides working full time, I started taking classes. I had a new job transition. For a while I was training for the new job while still working the old one. Then on top of that I was working for school at the animal hospital another 8-16 hours a week. I was worn out and spent most of my time home sleeping. But the truth is I was depressed. I was keeping busy because I was depressed. When I had downtime, I would think I should be reading, but I would pick up a book and put it right back now. Or I would read a few pages and not remember a word. I didn’t want to finish the books I had started and I didn’t want to start anything new. For someone who has loved reading since I first learned how, I had never felt this way before. It freaked me out and it also probably made me more depressed. I felt like I truly lost something that I loved and no matter how hard I tried and I just couldn’t find my way back to the rainbow.
A few months ago I decided this lack of reading pity party needed to end. I was sick of the classics and I was over the lists. I had plenty of time to read them before I died. I needed something new to kindle the flame of my wordy love, or just to turn on my kindle again. So I took to Reddit. After all it was the only thing I had been consistently reading. I found a subreddit for book suggestions, and I explained my situation and asked for any ideas to spark my love of reading again. The people who responded were all really kind and understanding and surprisingly all recommended books I had never read or had never even heard of. And no one recommended Game of Thrones! Through their suggestions I found some good easy reading, chick lit, and ya that list obsessed me from three years ago would have scoffed at. I enjoyed them and I was charging my kindle up again. But I didn’t reclaim any of my previous page turning hunger of the past. Then I picked up an off the wall suggestion for a book called the Burn Collector by Al Burian. Not really a book, it’s a collection of zines, discussing the lives and stories, travels and shifty jobs of Al and his friends. It’s been a while since a book resonated with me so much. Not only was it funny with a unique type if dark humor but it just hit home with me in so many aspects. I was highlighting lines on every other page, something I rarely do. I just wanted to turn around while I was reading and say to some non existent person, “would you listen to this guy!”
“Places grow to have meaning in your life from experience, from the process of connecting. The inevitable contemplation of commemorative tattoos follows.”
“I like Fall, tending to prefer the transitional seasons, because they don’t have weather, just foreshadowing. It’s not cold yet, but it’s getting colder. You look hippest in this weather, dressed in your faux-proletariat thrift store jacket and long pants to hide your dorky knees. Fall seems pregnant with the possibility of simpler things, a straight-forward future.”
The book made me want to jump on a greyhound bus and just pick up and move. It made me want to drink coffee. Or keep dream of the nineties alive in Portland. But it also made me want to write again. Honestly I don’t think it ignited that reading lust I was looking for but I’m okay with that. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back on to that crazy list train. But the book was partly the reason why I started this blog back up again. It made me want to release my words and anxieties and obsessions. Complain about my shifty job. It really did inspire me to pick up a pen, or more honestly, a tablet. Not really so anyone would read it or hear it. But just so I could get it out of my head. Keep writing to stay sane or sound more crazy, but at least in a slightly eloquent way.
So this is the first book I am checking of for 2015.