My mother was a voracious reader. We would go to the local library and she would leave with her arms full of books. Although I know she read a reasonable sampling of classic literature, her strength was mostly in mysteries, romances, and more popular authors. At one point I realized that she was reading as many as three of those fat bodice-rippers a day .. day after day.
I find that reading requires concentration and drops off exponentially when the demands of life intervene. However, my current environment is so well suited to hours of reading daily that I might well challenge my mother’s feats of reading. If only I read more romances. I have, it seems, read just about the equivalent of a book a day this last year: good light, digital editions, perpetual quarantine, and no television.
Oh, I regularly entertain the grand-kids on the Apple Arcade and am fond of following selected series on HBO, Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix, but I too often am thinking of the time I’m robbing from my reading to watch The Morning Show or Mare of Easttown or Taco Chronicles. I justify my actions by realizing that I. am as keen to know what happens next, whether it is in a book or on an internet stream. I do wish I had more time to watch all the excellent cinema treats available on the Criterion Channel: It’s the best!
Note that unlike the old, pre-pandemic days, I have actually read a good many of the titles I suggest each day. These were the suggestions from November:
11-01-21 – Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century — Jessica Bruder
11-02-21 – Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me — Richard Fariña
11-03-21 – Simply Joyce — Margot Norris
11-04-21 – The Unfolding of Language — Guy Deutscher
11-05-21 – Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World — Kevin Dutton
11-06-21 – Saturation Project — Christine Hume
11-07-21 – The Aosawa Murders — Riku Onda
11-08-21 – Naked — Brian S. Hoffman
11-09-21 – The Art of Literature — Arthur Schopenhauer
11-10-21 – The Waiting Game — R. A. Chandler
11-11-21 – In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash — Jean Shepherd
11-12-21 – Inside Story : A Novel — Martim Amis
11-13-21 – H. P. Lovecraft: A Look Behind Cthulhu Mythos — Lin Carter
11-14-21 – American War — Omar El Akkad
11-15-21 – A F*ckload of Shorts — Jedidiah Ayres
11-16-21 – A Great Idea At the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books — Alex Beam
11-17-21 – The Liar’s Dictionary — Eley Williams
11-18-21 – The Midnight Library: A Novel — Matt Haig
11-19-21 – Bride of the Sea — Eman Quotah
11-20-21 – Craft In the Real World — Matthew Salsas
11-21-21 – The Bridge On the Drina — Ivo Andric
11-22-21 – Zadig — Voltaire
11-23-21 – Go With the Flow: How the Great Master of Go Trained His Mind — Hunhyun Cho
11-24-21 – Stay With Me: A Novel — Ayobami Adebayo
11-25-21 – Bedtime Eyes – Amy Yamada
11-26-21 – In the Land of the Cyclops — Karl One Knausgård
11-27-21 – How the One-Armed Woman Sweeps Her House — Cherie Jones
11-28-21 – Klara and the Sun — Kazuo Ishiguro
11-29-21 – Vulgar Tongues — Max Décharné
11-30-21 – Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates — Thomas Cathcart
2 thoughts on “A Book a Day”
That is crazy awesome. But you and your mother have also inspired me to try doing this. Maybe I could start with shorter books. Anyway, thanks for this post!
There’s a method to my madness: I preselect each month’s reading pool with a goal of an average of 350 pages for each book. This means that whenever there is a big fat one, I also include a slim volume for balance. Of course I always opt for texts I really want to read, no matter how long. If I finish my initial list, I try to slip in a really big novel, generally from my Bucket List, and then fill in the gaps with shorter entertainments like detective stories or bizarre fiction. Good luck. There’s so much good stuff out there to read and as Ferris reminds us, Life Moves Pretty Fast.