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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Reading Lists, Booksellers & Naked Women

I saw a new weather description this morning. I keep a “sticker” from Weather Underground on my desktop home page that gives the current local temperature and weather conditions. At 8:06 this morning it was 28 degrees with “light freezing fog”.

I was browsing Anirvan Chatterjee’s blog over at Bookfinder yesterday, and he was breaking down the statistics on all the books he read last year by male author vs. female author, fiction vs. non-fiction, liked vs. disliked, and so on. What was most startling about the whole thing was that he managed to read 103 books! Ye Gods and Kinky Witches! His worst months were May and November with only 4 books each month, his best month was July, with 14. That’s understandable- with nothing else to do I can do a book every day or two, but when does anyone ever have that kind of time for more than a few weeks?

I suppose it’s one of those odd things about the book business- the popular view of the bookseller is that he or she sits around the shop all day reading good books and having great literary discussions with customers. In fact, many booksellers are so busy buying, processing, cataloging and selling books that we don’t have time to actually read any of them. As to literary discussions, many booksellers wouldn’t know who Hester Prynne was if she walked into their shop, stripped naked, and started doing lewd thing with the coffee maker.

Booksellers do read a lot- we read auction catalogs and other bookseller’s catalogs, and reference books. I must have read parts of a hundred books last year, as well as hundreds of articles, essays and web stories while researching specific books I was cataloging. But that isn’t the same as sitting down and reading a title cover to cover just for fun. How the heck do you find the time to get through 100 books a year for fun?

The secret is probably to always carry the damn book with you and open it whenever you have a spare moment. I already use a similar strategy while on the stationary bike- I keep one book by the bike, that I can only read while exercising. Murder mysteries and good military history seem best for the bike. I don’t necessarily want to bike today, but I do want to get to the next chapter. Lemme tell you -that sorts the good books from the bad pretty fast. When my 30 minutes seems like 300, it’s time to switch titles.

Now reading- “Disarmed –The Story of the Venus de Milo” by Gregory Curtis. It’s got a picture of a naked woman on the cover, which is very Tres Chic (that’s French for "bare breasts"). Daedalus still has some at $5.98.

Now Wondering- What does Laura think every morning when George gets up, puts on his bunny outfit and sacrifices live chickens to Satan in the White House bathroom? Doesn't it occur to her that it might be time to call someone? Even Martha Mitchell made a phone call, for crying out loud.

6 comments:

PiNK-y said...

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Mike said...

Colonel, I am pretty sure Laura doesn't think about much of anything because she actually likes the little french maid outfit George makes her wear every morning while he sacrifices chickens in the bathroom in his bunny suit.

Oh God, there's an image that's going to require the "Jaws Of Life" to remove it from your brain.

Colonel Colonel said...

Actually, I think the French maid costume belongs to Condi. Or maybe Karl Rove. Maybe they switch back and forth. When those hot tub photos hit the papers, Laura is going to show George what the word "castrati" really means...

Mike said...

I think you are right about Karl Rove wearing the French Maid outfit, but I am sure he makes George call him as "Daddy".

jgodsey said...

"...many booksellers wouldn’t know who Hester Prynne was if she walked into their shop, stripped naked, and started doing lewd thing with the coffee maker."

OK bud, what kind of Bookstores do YOU hang out in?

'Zann said...

A little late, but welcome to the blogging world, Colonel!

Carrying a book everywhere is definitely the way to go. In addition to the usual waiting room reading, I've read in grocery lines, in my car at rr crossings, and (I'm sort of ashamed to admit) with an itty-bitty book light in the back of a theater during all the dances my daughter was NOT in at her recital rehearsal.