Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bibliophile’s Wonderful Dilemma

Hello, my name is Jimi, and I’m a bibliophile. I generally read two or three very different books at a given time. For example, I am currently reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (how to), by Dave King and Renni Browne; Helper12 (science fiction), by Jack Blaine; and A Planet of Viruses (science), by Carl Zimmer. Oops, make that four books in progress. I almost forgot Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys on the Edge of Science, by Richard Preston. (I’m a little scared to read the last chapter about Lesch-Nyhan syndrome.)

I never have enough reading time for one book, let alone several. I shoehorn my reading into my already packed schedule—caring for my family (my 14-month-old is fun but challenging, especially when he is sick), working full time, writing, and the other sundries of daily life. Notice that I haven’t even listed exercise, though I should. I miss kickboxing in particular, but I also used to do the occasional sprint distance triathlon or run (5K and 10K) for my own amusement and motivation.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love my life. I have an amazing close-knit family and so many interests that I can’t ever imagine being bored. I still wish that my reading time wasn’t largely restricted to my lunch hour.

My reading list is only getting longer. I really should grab a copy of Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose. I’m sure that absorb the mechanics of what I read on some level, but I probably need the reminder to pay more attention to the nuts and bolts, versus the story. I want to resume reading Polio: An American Story, by David M. Oshinsky. The book combines a look at the history of the 1940s and 1950s as it relates to polio, along with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s part in public awareness, and the development of research into a vaccine.

I have been eyeing Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health, by Judith Walzer Leavitt, but I’m waiting on a Kindle version. Also on my “To be Read” list are The Cholera Years, by Charles E. Rosenberg; The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography, by Jim Miotke; Cyberdrome, by Joseph Rhea; Write2Publish (The Changing Face of Publishing), by Robin Sullivan; and…. The list goes on. Choosing my next read is a wonderful dilemma.

At least most of these books are now available on Kindle. My bookshelves and my back thank me for switching to my compact eReader. I enjoy the wealth of books available for my reading pleasure, and I plan to add my own Dormant to the collection in January 2012.

At the risk of adding to my TBR list, what books are you currently enjoying?


  1. I'm right there with you Jimi! Usually I'm reading 4-5 books at a time.

    One or two are usually reference for whatever my WIP is, right now that's Women in Old Norse Society and the Poetic Edda. Those I kind of browse if I'm looking for something specific, or skim if I'm looking for inspiration.

    I also one writing book that I'll read a chunk from every couple of days. Right now it's Showing & Telling, but the Self Editing for Fiction Writers book you mentioned is next on that list along with How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy.

    Then I have two or more pleasure books that I read at a time. Right now I'm reading one by Katie Salidas, Immortalis Carpe Noctem, and a collection of stories by several Urban Fantasy authors called Under Her Skin. On deck I have several freebies that I downloaded recently one called Syndrome and one called No Limit, both are SciFi Thrillers I believe.

    I just got The Time Machine by HG Wells as an Amazon freebie and I can't wait to read that one. I also mean to do a reread of Stoker's Dracula some time soon.

    I have a lot of free books I got from a contest and Amazon has been going crazy with the freebies, so I'm buried in books. Plus I have almost 120 in my Wishlist on Amazon. I need another of me dedicated to nothing but reading!

  2. Wow! You are busy! And I know what you mean about a fulltime job and family making writing a hard thing to keep up with--and reading!

    Glad you are reading HELPER12! The link you have posted goes to some other book, though :)

  3. Jack: Oops! I was looking at the other book to see it if was something I wanted to read, and I must have copied the wrong link--a hazard of the multiple pages/tabs I tend to have open. It's corrected now. I'm enjoying Helper12 immensely so far (about 2/3 of the way through).

    Coral: I thumb through reference books when I'm writing too. For Dormant, I did a bit of research into petroleum refining. A lot of it is out of my usual scope, but hopefully I got the gist.

    Is Showing and Telling one of the Write Great Fiction series? I read Dialogue, by Gloria Kempton, around the time that I took her class, though that wasn't one of the textbooks.

    You'll enjoy The Time Machine. I read it so many years ago that I should actually read it again, but I remember enjoying it.

    And I know what you mean about being buried in books. I only hit the highlights in my post. I was afraid that if I kept going on, my readers would go from glazed eyes to coma.

  4. I am so glad you are enjoying it! I was thrilled to see that you were reading it.

  5. The Showing & Telling I have is by Laurie Alberts, I don't think it's from series, at least it doesn't mention one on the cover. It's quite nice, though a little dry. Books about writing are always so boring. :(

  6. You have such an interesting reading list.

  7. Currently I am reading "The Poisoner's Handbook," which is about the beginnings of the NYC Medical Examiner's office and how poisons made changes to the way they did things. Also, slowly getting through "The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth," which is quite interesting.

  8. Jack: Thanks for popping in here! I will post a review when I finish your book.

    Coral: Self Editing covers showing and telling, but it doesn't go into great depth.

    Amy: I have eyed The Poisoner's Handbook. Is it a good read?

  9. It is really a good read, sustains your interest throughout. Vaguely reminiscent of Mary Roach, but without the humor, if that makes sense.