I love rereading Crime and Punishment but I’m still having a hard time with Absalom, Absalom!

“Lists of books we reread and books we can’t finish tell more about us than about the relative worth of the books themselves.” – Russell Banks

I like lists. I have lots of inventories and records that are completely unnecessary. One of these lists goes all the way back to the fifth grade. I can’t remember what possessed me to start it. I think it was part of a challenge to myself to read at least a book a week for a year. I’m beginning to realize that I set up challenges for myself an awful lot. Anyway, I found a small reporter’s notepad and started keeping a list of every book I read. I’ve been keeping the list for over ten years now. There are some rules that I set up for what makes it on the list.

1) I have to read the entire book. It doesn’t count if I skip boring chapters or don’t finish the last few pages.

2) If it’s a collection of short stories, I must read all of them. One of my other habits is reading one short story between novels. It’s a great change of pace.

3) My lists start on the first of the year.

4) A book goes on the list even if I’ve read it before.

It’s become one of those things I look forward to when I’m close to the end of a book. The list has overflowed into another notepad.

I don’t think it will ever be useful, but I like having it.


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