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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
"What are you reading?" "Words..."
I love that quote from Hamlet, though I've probably butchered it or misquoted it. But you get the general idea.

I think I've said before that I love to read. I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't know how to read. I'm not saying I was reading great tomes of literature in my earliest memories, but I do remember reading such classics as Fox in Socks at an early age. When I was about three or four, my mother took some time to record some of my favorite books onto cassette tape for me, so I could listen to them over and over again without her, if she was busy doing silly things like making dinner, cleaning the house or taking care of my younger sister. I remember listening to those stories on tape and read by her and thinking how cool it would be that someday I'd be able to read the same books just as proficiently as my mom did. (I don't think a four year old's mind used the word proficient, but you get the point).

I remember the first time our class got to go down to the school library when I was in kindergarden. I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer responsiblity and awesome power that I had..I could choose any book I wanted, check it out, take it home and read it. I remember walking up and down the aisles full of books, wondering which one I should pick. It seemed an awesome, huge responsbility, especially since I'd have this book for a whole week. I needed to make sure my choice counted and wasn't just wasted, thus meaning I'd have to wait another week to make another one. I also remember looking at the "big kid" book section, where they had all these thick, huge books--ones that were filled with more words and fewer pictures. At that point, I couldn't imagine reading one of those huge books in my lifetime.

Ah, how things change....

Now I get the priviledge of reading to my neice and nephew. (And I can really understand why my mom recorded certain favorite books of mine onto tape for me to listen to over and over again at my leisure. I love Gracelyn and Davis, but I can recite a lot of their books from memory...but that's a good problem since that just means Uncle Michael can buy them new books to read and discover). And I now read at least one or two of those "huge, thick" books per week.

Yes, I'm a pretty voracious reader. I just love opening a book and letting the worlds inside come alive. And it doesn't really matter what the book is about--fiction, non-fiction, anything. As long as it catches my interest for the time I'm reading it, I'm happy.

One thing I've really enjoyed the past couple of weeks is the buzz surrounding the latest Harry Potter book. Not just the fact that a major character doesn't make it to the final chapters (please don't tell me who it is, I've not finished the book yet..more on that later). What I've loved seeing is copies of the book floating around. I've seen kids with their noses buried deep inside the thick, purple book and I've seen adults carrying it around, reading it while they work out at the Y. It's cool to see where people are in the book--how far they've read into the story. I love that there's a sense of community to the reading of these books and while I sometimes wonder at the extremes that Scholastic goes through to keep the plot under wraps until the book comes out, I do understand it. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of a story Stephen King referenced in a preface to one of the segments of The Green Mile when he talked about people gathering at the docks in the colonies to get the latest installment of one of Charles Dickens' new works. (I can't remember which of Dickens' works it was at the moment...if anyone can tell me, drop me a comment!)

So, some of you may be wondering--Michael, if you're such a voracious reader and you have this self-proclaimed love of Harry Potter, then why haven't you finished the latest Harry Potter book yet?

Well, the explanation is really quite simple, though it does kind of speak to my need for a 12-step book-a-holics recovery program. (Just a little aside here...a couple of weeks ago, I was waiting in line at the gas station when I noticed an attractive woman in front of me. As she plunked her keyring on the counter, I noticed she had a lot of those keychain cards for various stores around town...but what really caught my eye was that she had the keyring library cards for not one but two county library systems. Wow...let's just say I found to be a complete and total turn-on. And no, I didn't actually work up the courage or gumption to gush my lust for her and her two library cards...)

Last week, I bought the new Harry Potter book and was ready to tear into it. I read the first couple of hundred pages and was really enjoying it when...I got a call from the library. Now, I put enough books and DVDs on reserve that I think the library has my phone number on speed dial. Certainly, it's got so that most of the librarians know me on sight and will ask me what I've put on reserve and if I've come to pick up something. So, I got a call and I figured I'd have a book in, so I dropped by to pick it up. The librarian scanned my card and said, "Oh, you've won the library lottery today...you've got three items on hold."

Three items?!? My mind raced.

He went back to pick them up off the hold shelf. Coming back, he held three books and said, "You certainly have lucked out with three really good books all at the same time."

What had come in were the new Orson Scott Card fantasy novel, Magic Street, the latest Harmony novel by Phillip Gulley A Change of Heart and the current Michael Connolly book The Closers. I'd put all these on reserve weeks before and was eager to start all of them. But then came the bad news. I could only have The Closers for a week instead of two since it was a high-demand item. So, now I was on the horns of a dilemma...but one that as a book reader I was glad to have--which book to read first?

Did I keep reading Harry Potter and possibly rush the experience too much? Or did I put it on hold and read The Closers first since there was a time frame in which I had to read it (and it can't be renewed, so I'd have to go back on the waiting list for it). I went with option B and put Harry Potter aside to read the lastest adventures of Hollywood detective Harry Bosch. I finished the book in three days and am now back reading the end of the Harry Potter novel.

But wow...what a great choice to have as a book lover. To have a plethora of great books, all of which I want to read. Of course, I haven't helped my addiction since I stopped in at the bookstore this weekend and got the new Star Trek novel and Peter David's latest installment of the Sir Appropos series.

Hi, my name is Michael...and I'm a book-a-holic.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 7/26/2005 08:17:00 AM | |
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