Six Years Worth of Books
On January 1, 2007, I started a list that I keep to this day. It is nothing more, nothing less, than keeping track of each book I read. Chronologically, each book and it’s author are listed each time I finish said book. That’s it. No review, no thumbs up or thumbs down, no recap.
I really don’t know why I started this tradition. Probably just an experiment to see how many books I read in a given year. The first book of 2007 was “I Am Charlotte Simmons” by Tom Wolfe. The latest book? Well, I put “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry on the list yesterday, but it’ll probably take another week or two until I’ve completed it.
There are some benefits to keeping a list of books read. For one, I think it helps keep my memory sharp. If you go look at book #35 in 2009 (and I have no idea what book this would actually be), I can probably tell you the basic premis of the story. Potentially, even the name of a character or two. What’s kinda cool is to try to remember where I was in life while reading that particular book. Like, I definitely remember reading T.C. Boyle’s “Drop City” leading up to our wedding, and then reading John Sanford’s “Broken Prey” on our honeymoon in Cancun. Earlier this year, I was assigned to read “To The Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” for a grad school class. Now, any time I look over that list, it’ll be up to me to recall those books with memories of living at 400 W. 119th Street in Manhattan. With that memory comes other things; laying on the couch reading and re-reading Woolf until I grasped the story and characters. I also lived that year in NYC under quite a bit of stress. I drank too much coffee. Actually, that’s pretty typical. I usually drink too much coffee. Right now, I couldn’t name half the people with whom I shared that class, but I can tell you about the parts and characters in “To The Lighthouse.”
I think there’s a balance to be struck about documenting life. It seems scrapbooking is a big rage these days. And that’s cool. Ya know, keepsakes and pics and the like. Yet, the extreme of this is that one wouldn’t actually live life to the fullest b/c he/she is too busy documenting. Make sense? And then I think of the person who isn’t able to remember all their adventures and stories because they didn’t take time to write them down. Somewhere in between the two, there’s a balance to be struck. I don’t get much out of photographs, obviously, but keeping this list and keeping my memory sharp helps me relive some of the life events associated with tht particular time.
Do you do anything like this? Scrapbooking? Journaling? Blogging? I hope so. This is the one life you have and I hope you’ll do some documentation for future use.