I started doing this thing. Many years ago I started writing down every book I read. This was driven by:
- My passionate love of lists.
- A belief that a really long list of books I had some relation to would make me look cool.
- A (relatively reasonable) fear that over time I would forget what I’d read (reasonable considering how many times we’ll get to the end of a movie and Mom will say “You know, I think I saw that before…”). This was coupled with the belief that if I can’t remember reading a book at least I could know that I had read it, and this would somehow make me feel better. Now, having seen dementia (only a little, only from the sidelines. And no, Mom, no, Granny, I’m not talking about you!) I’m starting to think being reminded of the things you can’t remember is probably worse and I should let these to-be-forgotten books go. But I can’t, because of point 1. And point 4.
- I really super duper totally love lists.
So, I started this list in 2001, when I was in college and feeling really smart. And I updated it faithfully for a few years. Then, in 2003, I stopped. I don’t know why. I was young. I was foolish. I was working my first real job. I was distracted by cocktails and cute boys.
I few years ago I came across the file on my computer. Scanning the list of books I’d read years ago filled my with joy. It was like being reacquainted with an old, dear friend. A friend who you’d totally forgotten about, because while they are a good person, you are selfish and self-absorbed and forgetful and kind of mean. But they don’t mind; they’re just happy to see you and be remembered. I guess this friend is pretty pathetic. Which is probably why you let them drift away in the first place.
Right. So it was wonderful to go through this list and remember these books and sometimes remember where I was when I read them. But it also made be incredibly sad. There was this huge hole, years missing! I wanted to start the list again, but the anal retentive part of me (it’s a really big part) said NO! The list will be imperfect. Invalid. You can’t keep a tally of books only sometimes. That’s not a list of things you’ve read. It’s a list of things you’ve remembered to record. It’s a testament to how stupid and lazy you are!
So I doped this part of my brain with a few bottles of wine and started my list again.
This morning I finished My Sister’s Blue Eyes by Jacques Poulin. I sat down at my computer, coffee in hand, and opened up “The File”.
I hadn’t updated it since April!
What? WHAT? WHATWHATWHAT?!?!?
The baby in me wanted to bawl. Fortunately she was quickly quashed by the uppity jerk in me (Are you in physical pain? Is someone abusing you emotionally? Do you have food in your cupboards? Then BUCK UP!) and replaced by the geek in me. Project! Fun!
The project? To put the list on my blog! I know, this is the best thing you’ve heard all day. Am I right? I can reformat the whole thing! It’ll take hours! Weeee! And I could add a rating system and link to author pages and—
Four hours later, and this is what I have. http://sarahgignac.com/reading Not bad for a start, but the links to authors and such will take a while to add.
Does anyone else keep lists like this? Please, tell me I’m not alone!
And if you have any suggestions for reading material, I’m always on the look out for my next favourite author!