Sunday, January 23, 2011
Book Selection Anxiety
Right now, I'm in the middle of a long, wonderful, fact-packed book: At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. It's great, but I can only read so much of it at once. So, the other day, I was trying to select an alternate book to read. I've really trying to whittle down my TBR shelf, so it made sense to me to select something from that list. But I was in agony!
I didn't want anything too long, because two long books at the same time is so intimidating; I didn't want anything British, because I've been reading so many lately (almost half the books on my TBR pile are either about Britain or written by British authors); I didn't want anything brand new, because I felt guilty about reading new books when I have so many I've owned for so long; I didn't want anything non-fiction because I was already reading a non-fiction book. See how difficult I'm being?
I finally looked at my TBR list and decided on the perfect book: Collected Novellas by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which includes Leaf Storm, No One Writes to the Colonel and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. I'd read Chronicle years ago and really liked it, so that would make it an easier read; all three are fairly short; and it's probably the book I've owned longest without actually reading, so it would feel really good to cross that off my list. And I've just started a new Conversational Spanish class, so it felt particularly timely. A perfect choice.
However, this dilemma really got me thinking -- why on earth was I making this so difficult?? Reading is supposed to be fun -- there are no reading police to tell me what and when to read or enjoy. It's not homework! What in the heck is wrong with me??? It also made me wonder if all my blogging and reading of blogs and to-read lists was contributing to my insanity. AndI was really wondering if anyone else has ever gone through this.
And by the way, that was three days ago and I still haven't picked up Garcia Marquez. I also realized that Virago Reading Week starts tomorrow so I should probably start a Virago if I need another book -- I'm leaning toward The Professor's House by Willa Cather. Alas, Collected Novellas will have to wait after all.