Sunday, October 14, 2007

Reading and Referral

Like the obsessive compulsive that I am, I keep records of what I read each year, and I date my reading year from my birthday rather than January 1. Said birthday being today, October 14. (Lana's is October 13, btw.) The 06-07 year was a good one for me. I read 100 books, which is above my usual average. But my total was helped by deciding last year that I was going to read some shorter books and more poetry. The 9 poetry collections I got through didn't take a lot of time. Other than that, nonfiction was my highest category, with 19. Mystery/thriller followed at 18, and then 17 and 14 respectively for fantasy and horror.

The best book I read this year was Gently into the Land of the Meateaters by Jim Sallis, which is a collection of his essays. The worst one was the Werewolf one that I blogged about on September 3 under the title "Altering Point of View," and another weak one was a collection of Japanese Cthulhu Mythos stories that I had to read for a review. The most interesting poetry collection I read was Charles Bukowski's Love is a Dog from Hell.

For the new reading year I've decided to focus on big books, and, accordingly, have started Red Mars, at over 570 pages, by Kim Stanley Robinson. The first 15 pages nearly wrecked it for me. It was essentially an "epilogue" to the story, and I was within a page or two of tossing it before it started to get interesting. Once he went back and started on the beginning of the story on page 26 I quickly found myself hooked and am reading avidly.

As for writing today, I'm going to simply refer you to an excellent piece by Steve Malley entitled "As Above, So Below." Lot of good stuff in this one.


Shauna Roberts said...

I started keeping a reading log in January for the first time. I never considered having a goal for the type of reading I would. That's a great idea, and I'm going to be thinking about a goal for 2008.

Oh, and happy birthday! (although in Louisiana it's almost over)

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, Charles. I tend to find authors and gobble their universes up, like Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos, two of Steve Malley's favorites. Happy late birthdays to you and Lana. I turned 40 on 9/9/99 and I never once thought about that until that day. The first night game at Wrigley Field ws 8/8/88, but the cycle ends there.

SQT said...


I tore through Lehane's Kinsey/Gennaro books a few years ago and loooooved them.

I don't know if I could keep a reading log. I'm too scattered for that I think. Plus I'm always picking stuff up and deciding I'm not in the mood for that one and then moving on to something else. I'm just not detail oriented.

SzélsőFa said...

What an impressive number of book per 'reading year'.
I followed the link and found Steve's entry. It set my my going. Thanks!

Randy Johnson said...

I didn't know anyone else kept a reading log. I started about twenty-five years ago. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Bernita said...

Your're a Libran.
I should have known.
Seems a lot of bloggers whose work I'm drawn to and admire are Librans.
Maybe there's something in astrology after all.

Michelle's Spell said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope it's a good one. I should keep a reading log now that I think about it. I always forget what I read over the year. I love the Bukowski you mentioned even though I once lived with someonew who had a huge framed picture of him and he (Charles B.) was not an attractive man. Still, I love his poetry.

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, I started mine a long time ago but it's been the last 10 or so that I've decided to have general goals for the year. I don't read "just" toward a goal, but I kind of keep it in the back of my mind.

Wayne, I've not read either of those. Two more authors I should check out. 9-9 is the birthday of my ex, man. Guess it's a good thing you aren't a woman.

Sqt, I find it fun. But I know I am detail oriented.

Szelsofa, I don't read that many books ever year. But I had the summer off this year and that helped.

Randy, finally someone who doesn't laugh at me when I mention my reading log. Maybe those of us who keep a log should develop a secret sign so we could recognize each other.

Bernita, I never thought there was anything to astrology but it's pretty interesting how compatible Lana and I are. I also have several other good friends with birthdays right around mine.

Michelle, "not an attractive man" puts you on the list of all time understaters. LOL.

Lisa said...

Happy belated birthdays to both of you! I started keeping a reading log sometime during this year when I noticed one or two other bloggers doing it (more OCD anyone?). I think we tend to read many more books than we think we do! Ha! Charles Bukowski as "not very attractive" is probably the nicest compliment on looks he ever got. I've read quite a bit of Bukowski too and always thought when they did the film, Barfly, based on his Henry Chinaski alter-ego that Mickey Rourke was much too good looking to play Bukowski -- despite the effort he put into looking like a slob :)

Anonymous said...

I've been out of the loop for the last week. A belated happy birthdays to you and Lana. And a big, WOW, congratulations on the marriage. That is fantastic.

the walking man said...

well Happy Birthday to you and your wife. I will say this I have been keeping a book log for several years and I can tell you that you are exactly 100 books ahead of me from October to October.Congratulations, you out read a half wit.



the walking man said...

Hey I have a bukowski button on my hat just to keep that beauty close to my brain.


Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, thanks. And yes, agreed on Bukowski, Mark's comments about buttons not withstanding.

Jack, thanks. We had fun.

Mark, button, button, where's my button.

Steve Malley said...

Happy Birthday, and thanks for the tip of the hat!

I really enjoyed Robinson's Mars trilogy. I'm a terribly fussy reader in SF/F: too many heartbreaks, too much yuck. The Mars books were that rare gem that keeps me coming back to the genre: the guy knows his science *and* tells a decent story...

Happy reading in the new year!

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

HI Charles,

I will take your advice on this book, my heart and soul new refreshment. Perhaps this will do the trick. Thanks!

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

I'll just say, I do the same thing. I keep a log of all my reading. Thank God someone else is as anal as I am. Happy Birthday.

Travis Cody said...

Happy Birthday to you and your Lady!

I've never kept a reading log. I used to read quite a bit more than I do currently, but I think that's just a phase. I want to get back to at least an hour a day.

I started the second book in the Harry Dresden series over the weekend. So far so good on that one.

Danny Tagalog said...

I really should be doing something similair - interesting about Steve Malley's book - I did a dry academic paper last year subtitled "As Above So Below?" on 'cohesion' in student essays.

The origin of this phrase is apparently in the *short* occultic text, " The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus ", so I suppose this won't be reaching your reading list then?

All the best

'Paranoid' Tagalog - in the vein of tle living 'Oz' - not the present zombifried one!

Chris Eldin said...

Happy Birthday! To both of you!!!

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Hey happy belated birthday to the both of you! Wow, marriage and birthdays! Your anniversary weeks are going to be really expensive!;o)

Great idea to do a reading log. I just have a reading pile that gets higher everytime I go buy more books!

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve, yes, I'm glad I've already got Green Mars in my hot little hand. I'll have to pick up Blue Mars later.

IOH, actually, the link to Steve Malley is to his blog. It's a short sweet piece on writing.

Stewart, sounds like there are more of us book loggers out there than I had thought.

Travis, I've heard good things about those books but haven't read any. I don't read as much as I used to either, at least most years. This was kind of an exception.

Danny, the piece by Steve Malley is actually a blog entry. I've not heard of the Trismegestus book. Sounds like it might be worth perusing.

Church Lady, thanks.

Ello, fortunately, neither Lana nor I have expensive tastes. Except that we like to dine out in nice restruants.

Randy Johnson said...

Charles, you need to get started on the Dresden Files before you get to far behind. They are exceptional and his plans run to twenty plus books before it's finished.

Travis Erwin said...

I just gave up on my reading log. I had it posted on my blog but when I fell way behind it updating it I gave up.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, Sphinx Ink recommended these to me. I'll check 'em out next time I'm near a bookstore, or Amazon.

Erik Donald France said...

Belated happy birthday!!!!!!

I use a calendar and a series of coded glyphs to record various things. It's useful b/c time has such qualities -- good to see it laid out sometimes.

Sidney said...

I keep a reading log and I tend to flip back through it, getting reminded of what I was reading in October 1995. It's kind of a fun way to look back on personal time.