For a while now I’ve been making a list of the books I read in a calendar year. It’s nothing as fancy or official as entries in a book journal but it’s better than nothing. I list the month, book title, and author. Period.
If I could locate the lists I’ve made in previous years (sigh) I could plot the busyness of my life. The more hectic my life, the shorter the list; the greater the gaping hole in my work/play life balance.
With March upon us I’m happy to report that I’m on my eighth title. I suppose if I allowed myself to count the audio books I enjoy in my car the list would swell. I only listen if I’m alone in the car. Roy would rather listen to some radio station playing old pop rock music.
Looking back at my 2015 list so far reveals that I’ve been binge reading mystery thrillers. A couple were Gillian Flynn’s including Gone Girl. (FYI, the book is better than the movie.) Throw in a Sandra Brown. I’m on my fourth Tami Hoag. Surprisingly, I fell in love with her because of an audio book. While listening is clearly different than the silent reading of a paperback, it is so satisfying when the prose is beautiful and technique strong.
The only anomaly on the list is Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real. This book chronicles the story of three-year-old Colton Burpo’s trip to heaven and back. This too is a page-turner of a different sort.
Absent so far on this year’s list are War and Peace and other equally challenging reads. Part of me aspires to that; part of me doesn’t give a damn. Snobbery be damned. It seems that increasingly I just want easy, fast-paced escapism. I want a book that grabs me by the lapels and pulls me headlong into the story. It expects nothing more of me than stolen moments of attention every chance I get.
As much as I’m enjoying these guilty pleasures I don’t feel any need to keep them in my personal library. They will find their way into my garage sale box. I haven’t been able to part with any audio books yet because I believe I will listen again. I find it somewhat scary that new vehicles have only one disc player and those may become obsolete. Are discs going the way of the eight track or cassette? Say it ain’t so.
Very soon I’ll be rereading To Kill a Mockingbird in anticipation of the release of Harper Lee’s upcoming second novel. The announcement seemed like an incredible plot twist, especially with quotes attributed to the media shy author. Soon after, someone close to her disputed the claim saying she was sick and incapable of making those statements. Is this a publisher running amok taking liberties with a frail woman’s legacy? Is this a real life mystery? Either way it’s sure to make it onto my reading list, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..