Our power went out the other day. It’s one of the problems with living in the forest – one little record-breaking windstorm and half the county loses all connection to the outside world. But, upside, I got to snuggle my dogs under a fuzzy blanket and read books with a flashlight for twelve hours. It was like a mandatory blanket fort childhood regression therapy day. And then the power came back on and I had a wicked flashlight headache and found my very special Christmas ice cream had melted and all my happy feelings were undone. But that’s not really the point here.
The point is that I read super duper fucking fast.
No, I’m kidding, that’s not the point either. It is relevant, though. I read two and a half books that day. One of them is smallish and the other had to be pried out of my freezing claw so I would eat something at one point, but still, that might be a personal record. Bonus. Level up.
Lately I’ve found myself overwhelmed by my to-be-read pile. To the point where I have decided both to buy no more books until the pile is gone and also, later, to tell the pile to get fucked and run up my credit card more than is fiscally responsible buying new stacks of new books. Problem is, there’s an actual, literal pile…
…and then there’s The List. The List haunts me. It’s either the mark of an ambitious young woman who sets unrealistic goals so she can (cue glitter and breathy voiceover) shoot for the moon! Or. I might be a mental hoarder and The List is where awesome things I want to learn about go to die. To be fair, it is quite an impressive list. At one point it existed as most of a small notebook, but now it’s a spreadsheet. It’s beautiful, like all spreadsheets. And having been transferred from file format to file format over three computers now, it’s got that amazing, sort of schizophrenic non-font font that looks like creepy baby teeth or old headstones or something. You know the one. It’s possible to look at The List and trace all my momentary obsessions and psychological phases – every Pulitzer winner, dead rock star biographies, the history of circuses, British interregnum scientists. As well as, during my time at the Giant Evil Bookstore, listing the ISBN and publisher and format for every book (which is handy, mostly, for finding rare or out of print books, like those on the history of circuses and British interregnum scientists). If I die before I wake, I pray my future hypothetical biographer/psychologist/archaeologist my fucking ridiculous to-be-read list to take.
Jesus Murphy, woman – get to the bloody point!
Fine! As you may recall, I have an aversion to New Year’s resolutions. I fail enough already without setting myself up with what are usually, frankly, unattainable goals that I think are brilliant at the time due to far too much champagne and encouragement from my equally wasted rapscallion buddies. Also, I’m rubbish at winter. I should really just be focusing on getting through a normal day, not doing anything new and exciting and difficult.
In wracking my brain for blog ideas this week, it occurred to me that there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet and fifty-two weeks in a year. So, if I read one fiction and one nonfiction book a week (for a balanced diet), and go through the alphabet twice (as an organizational device), I can cross two hundred and eight books off the list this year. In all honesty, that probably won’t happen. Life so often gets in the way. More and more, Netflix and podcasts get in my way. Back when I still lived in the world, though, I’d read four or five books a week, easy. So now it seems to be a question of discipline, doesn’t it? Books vs internet, brain vs eyeballs/earholes, the thing I love the most in the world vs oh god, so easy and soothing like aloe vera on the sunburn of my having to deal with anything whatsoever including thinking. Still, let’s call it one hundred and seventy-five books for sure, and aim for two hundred and eight, shall we? Which is not to say that I’m setting you up for a whole year of blogs on nothing but books. I’m sure I’ll find something else to prattle on about. I mean, it’s an election year, you guys!
I am a touch concerned about that thing brains do, where they respond to telling someone an idea about a project in exactly the same way that they respond to doing the actual project. Realistically, that will probably be the thing that screws me over here. Stupid brain and its janky dopamine system. We should tell brains that we’re running out of dopamine and they should switch to solar.
Holy shit. What if that’s true? What if we’ve so fucked the planet and our food and water that we can’t make enough dopamine anymore? And that’s why everyone’s so hateful and fighty all the time? What? Did my being a dick and making a bad joke just solve a thing?
Fuck yeah, agropants!
Alright, but really. I’m going to try to stick to this book thing. But we’re not calling it a resolution because I don’t do those. What should we call it? Bookapalooza? Listgate? Spreadsheetathon? Something like that. I’ll get back to you.
Meanwhile, I suggest you turn off all your devices (except the freezer – RIP, extremely expensive organic peppermint ice cream), build a pillow fort, and read a book or two with your cuddle buddies. Doctor’s orders. Go. Book. Fort. Now. You’ll thank me, I promise.