Here a book, there a book, everywhere a book or ten


When people ask what I’m reading, I usually rattle off three or four titles. Lately, though, it’s gotten out of hand. 

I’ve just finished The Painter by Peter Heller—now there’s a novel to be savored—along with Hatchet, a young adult novel by Gary Paulsen recommended by a friend, and Vehemence, a short story by J.J. Hensley, whose debut novel Resolve is a finalist for an International Thriller Award. And I’m about to finish the most excellent Fire on the Plateau: Conflict and Endurance in the American Southwest by Charles F. Wilkinson, a history of legal cases that affected development in the region.

I’m a few chapters into Cavanila’s Choices, the first in a trilogy of novels about the Minoan Cataclysm by Jesse Sisken, who in addition to being a fine writer is also my uncle. My obsession with Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series continues with A Deeper Sleep, the fifteenth of twenty books featuring Shugak. And, I’m reading a mystery manuscript by a friend of a friend.

What awaits? Busted, about the investigation into corrupt Philly cops that won Philadelphia Daily News reporters Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker a Pulitzer. Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon, whose mysteries set in Venice I’ve been meaning to read for a long time.  (Even though I swore to finish reading at least one of the other books first, I confess to peeking into this for a chapter or two.) Another Wilkinson book, Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. And of course, the next Shugak mystery. I dread the end of that series. I’ll miss Kate and Mutt and the gang terribly.

All of this feels a little—a lot—out of control. Clearly, I need help. But I can’t find a twelve-step program for addictive readers. There’s a Bookaholics Anonymous, but it appears to encourage people to read even more, and to do random cool things with books, such as arrange them with their spines in rainbow order, which makes about as much sense as any other system. There are several Bookaholics book groups, some Bookaholics blogs, and a Bookaholics bookstore in Wichita, Kansas.

But there’s nothing to help people read less and do more, oh, say, housework. Or desk-cleaning, which belongs in a heavy-lifting category that exceeds regular housework. Or even sleep. Or, ahem, blogging. As I type, I’m looking across at bookshelves that hold a couple of new books I’ve recently bought but haven’t had time to get to: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound. I just downloaded Alafair Burke’s Long Gone. And, after hearing him interviewed by Susan Larson on WWNO’s The Reading Life, I really, really want to read Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda. 

Which probably means it’s time to stop blogging and get back to reading.

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