Even with snow days, a lifetime is never enough…

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Once again January arrived and my bookshelf still contains works that I’ve had for years and have not yet read. Joining them are books, both bought and received, since I began this blog is 2012. Plus, there is an ever-going list of books that I want to read but do not own…and now with ebooks, there are countless enticing reads available on my laptop, iPad mini, and even iPhone!

The to-read section of my bookshelf will never be empty, I will never stop jotting down titles for later, and ebooks are continuing to pick up publishing speed. But that is the point, isn’t it? In this blogging quest to persevere and read what I own in physical form, it’s truly become an exercise in prioritizing what I read and making more time for pleasure reading. I still don’t do enough of it, with all of the technological distractions these days. But it isn’t a problem of 2014 or even 2012. I first got a computer in 2000 and at that time there was already so much to do and learn virtually.

Don’t get me wrong, reading on a screen is still reading, just as you are doing now with this blog post. My husband reads online articles and long forum posts but when I’m on the ‘net, my use is very different. I search out snippets and photos, recipes and Tweets, and do general catching up with people. Sure, the occasional long form article grips me enough to keep me reading until the end but much of the Internet isn’t set up for that. It’s a barrage of the most attention grabbing, tantalizing burst of information for that moment. Such tactics are a disservice to everyone as well as information. In libraries especially, information depth leads to knowledge, which is why my long form reading takes places offline. Sure, I can and probably should seek out more long form writing online but I have enough on my physical and virtual bookshelves to last me a long time, not to mention that to-read list.

Enough philosophical pondering for now. How did 2013 shape up reading wise for the MovingBookmark blog? I finished 14 books this year, one of which wasn’t even on my list but that I had to throw in for fun (who doesn’t love Mindy?).

Rolling over from last year that I am actively reading are three tougher books, which you’ll hear about soon enough, I hope: Every love story is a ghost storyAnna Karenina, and Drift. All fast reads are alike but challenging reads are challenging in their own way–to riff on Tolstoy.

ReadWriteLib’s 2014 bookshelf list for the MovingBookmark

  1. Drift : the unmooring of American military power — Rachel Maddow
  2. Cat’s eyewitness — Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
  3. The leaderless revolution — Carne Ross
  4. End this depression now! — Paul Krugman
  5. Joseph Anton : a memoir — Salman Rushdie
  6. Every love story is a ghost story : a life of David Foster Wallace — D.T. Max
  7. Boleto : a novel — Alyson Hagy
  8. Freedom — Jonathan Franzen
  9. 1Q84 — Haruki Murakami
  10. How English works — Anne Curzan, Michael Adams (grammar textbook)
  11. The Finkler question — Howard Jacobson
  12. Patron Saint of Liars — Ann Patchett
  13. The rolling stones — Robert Heinlein
  14. Run — Ann Patchett
  15. One hundred years of solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  16. The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — Robert Louis Stevenson
  17. Selected stories of Philip K. Dick
  18. Sinner — Sara Douglass
  19. The information — James Gleick
  20. The end of the straight and narrow — David McGlynn
  21. Twice told tales — Nathaniel Hawthorne
  22. Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy
  23. I’m looking through you — Jennifer Finney Boylan
  24. Son of a witch — Gregory Maguire
  25. Inland — K.C. Frederick
  26. The nature of a liberal college — Henry Wriston
  27. The soul thief — Charles Baxter
  28. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte
  29. Paradise lost & paradise found — John Milton
  30. Pride and prejudice and zombies — Seth Grahame-Smith
  31. War and peace — Leo Tolstoy
  32. The human division — John Scalzi
  33. Japanese Inn — Oliver Statler
  34. Confucius lives next door — T.R. Reid
  35. The valley of amazement — Amy Tan
  36. S — J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
  37. The best American nonrequired reading 2013 — Dave Eggers, editor (friend’s published in it!)
  38. Exley — Brock Clarke
  39. A free life — Ha Jin
  40. Neverwhere — Neil Gaiman
  41. Midnight’s children — Salman Rushdie
  42. Sea creatures : a novel — Susanna Daniel

Wow! This list is shorter than last year’s, by one book but that still counts. The ebb and flow is to be expected. I would truly be shocked, and saddened, if I did read everything and had nothing left in the queue, be it physical or virtual. The exciting thing, thinking back on the past two years that I’ve blogged about and made more of an effort, I am awed by how much I have read and the books that no longer grace this list. Even low double digits is a feat in our distracting, busy lives these days. Another thing that would shock and sadden me would be if no books left this list. I tote these physical objects around for a reason and whether I like them or not when I get to reading them, there is a joy in finally finishing one and closing it for the last time, knowing the people and their stories enclosed within the pages. Every book teaches me something. That is the true pleasure of reading.

Here’s to 2014, even more time spent reading, and devouring these books like my eight-year-old self!

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