About [not] reading

GreatAmericanReadI just watched The Great American Read on PBS, a show that searches for the “100 best-loved books and explores the many ways in which these novels affect, reflect and connect us all”. People are invited to vote for their favourite book in the list. It made me want to read more and wonder why I read so little.

I used to read a lot. As far as I can remember I often read books (novels, comics, books about space, about lost civilizations, about extra-terrestrials; all sort of books). My parents always encouraged us to read. I was spending long nights reading (and sometimes writing), particularly in the summer, when I didn’t have school the next day. I remember going to the public library (first, the one in the basement of our elementary school, and then the city library on top of the fire station). In my last year of high school, I remembered reading over a hundred books, mostly cheap science-fiction novels (space opera that freed my imagination and made me feel that everything was possible). Why did I stop reading so much? 

I was still reading a lot in college and in university (undergrad and grad school). That’s when I started reading also in English (first with L. Niven’s The Ringworld Engineers and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings). Ironically, it’s only when I got busier with my publishing company that I seriously reduced my reading habit. Working hard (even at the library) takes much of my energy. Now I barely read twenty to fifty books a year, and it is mostly manga or comics. I guess I got lazy and life doesn’t leave me enough free time to read. I cannot read in the bus/subway anymore, I’m too tired. I read sometime on the weekends and more often than not before going to sleep. Mostly, I watch too much TV. It’s much easier to watch the movie version than read the novel; but it’s also an unfortunately diluted experience. A book is so much more than a movie. You can create your own visual of the story while the movie provide it for you…

On that Great American Read list, I’ve read only a dozen books: 1984 (G. Orwell), And Then There Were None (A. Christie), The Da Vinci Code (D. Brown), Dune (F. Herbert), Foundation (I. Asimov), A Game Of Thrones (G. R.R. Martin), The Grapes of Wrath (J. Steinbeck), Jurassic Park (M. Crichton), The Pillars of the Earth (K. Follett), The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (D. Adams), The Little Prince (A. De Saint-Exupery) and The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien). There are many that I think I might have read, at least partially, or maybe I just saw the movie… I am not sure… But there are many, many more I just wish I had read. I will. I still have time. 

I just can’t wait to retire and I have the entire day to myself, with a nice cup of tea and a book!

I wish my entire life was only about books. Wait! It is: I work in a library and I write a blog (partially) about reading! Gosh! I should dedicated even more time to books…

Unfortunately, I cannot vote for the Great American Read. First, I am not American. Second, I haven’t read enough books in that list. And finally, I would have really a hard time deciding which book is my favourite… Each one has its own value and it’s difficult to compare one to another. They all had an impact on my life, because they all transmitted to me a valuable experience one way or another. But I have such a bad memory for those things… Maybe Dune, La nuit des temps (R. Barjavel), Neuromancer (W. Gibson), or Lord of the Rings ? I don’t know… Anyhow, you can follow my readings on Goodreads

And you, what are your favourite books?

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