What to read…

One of the things I realized at CLA was that I don’t read much.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I voraciously consume trashy romance novels, but we all know that’s not the same as “reading”.

Without even realizing it, many of us are book snobs.  We look at what someone else is reading and (perhaps unconsciously) judge them based on the title, genre and even on the cover art.  So what do my reading preferences tell you about me?  Do they give you a true picture of who I am?  Probably not.

I read what I read because it’s easy.  I don’t have to think very hard about the story.  I don’t have to look for a deeper meaning.  I don’t have to critique the plot, the message, or even the idea behind the story.  I just have to read it.

There were people at CLA who were reading books that have won literary acclaim.  There were people who were reading children’s books.  There were people who were reading technical manuals and social commentaries.  There were people reading library school texts and things that looked really interesting.  And then there were those of us who were reading trade paperbacks.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t consider myself a book snob.  I believe that reading is reading (and reading is good), no matter what you’re reading.  But if all I’m ever reading is the latest bodice ripper, then there’s something wrong… especially since I work at a library.

When I work at the reference desk I need to be able to give informed advice about books that isn’t based solely on what I see checked out/returned a lot during my circulation duties.  I also need to broaden my horizons so that I’m not basing my “informed” advice on the “If you liked _____, then you may like ______, ________, or _______” shelf at Borders.  So, with that in mind I’ve decided to focus the brunt of my reading on other stuff.

Looking around online for inspiration, I found a list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die at http://www.listology.com/list/1001-books-you-must-read-you-die.  It was typed up from a book by the same title.  It seems like as good a place as any to start, right?

There are titles on the list that I remember reading before, and ones that I attempted to read but quit in the middle.  I’ll be reading them all again.  I’ll try to write about/review as many of them as possible as I finish them.  Instead of picking books randomly from the list, I decided to start at the bottom (the oldest titles) and work my way up.  I’d also like to finish reading these books within 2 years.  We’ll see how it goes.

Luckily I was able to find all of the “pre-1700” titles in my library system and through Link+!  And one of them is here in my house somewhere.  Way to save money!

Wish me luck!

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