Thursday, January 7, 2016

The omnivorous reader

In order to pursue my Goodreads challenge this year (a target of 20 books, with a self-imposed limit of books written by women), I neglected to read anything not within the confines of a book cover. Magazines piled up, one story issues remained unopened, newspapers were recycled before I unfolded them.

I love books but I am an omnivorous reader--I like to read anything, especially magazines. I wish there was something like Goodreads that would let me also note significant stories/articles*--not to get credit for it by way of a challenge, but to just remember what and who I have read.

I suppose that's what Facebook or Google+ are for--to link to articles you've read or proclaim the talents of writers you like, but I would prefer something more private and individual. There's the possibility of jotting down notes and names on index cards or even keeping a spreadsheet of everything significant I've read, but it seems like too much work--and I probably would lose track of them. There's also the Pocket app--but it lets you keep track of online articles only.

Perhaps this begs the question: must everything be noted? For me, it's not about tooting my own horn but my need for a vehicle that lets me remember who I've read and liked so that I can find other works by them, given my poor memory for names.

By the way, I didn't reach my goal of 20 books, mostly because I chose really long books this year. I read more than 6,000 words in 16.5 books. Fortunately, Goodreads allowed me to edit my goal, even on the last day of the challenge, in nearly the last hour, so that 16 suddenly became my goal and my accomplishment.

[The illustration above shows what I read. I tried to choose a mix of popular and more literary books, in addition to one on technique. It was really about the enjoyment of reading versus reading things to boast about.]

* After I finished writing this, I looked around Goodreads and found that a few issues of one story have been listed there (including the Jim Shepard story I noted in a 2012 post). I'm not sure if the Goodreads staff has added them or if readers can add them. I'll look around and update this post accordingly...

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