“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.