The Second Third, Week 9: Books Books Books

Blogger's Note: The whole idea behind these "Second Third" posts can be found here.

I love books. Though I've been known to ingest audiobooks on long road trips, I'm not an ebooks guy...there's no Kindle in my future. I like big, beautiful volumes that look like heirlooms; musty hardcovers with yellowed pages; beater paperbacks with the cracks of years in their spines. I like poetry, fiction, and non-fiction...and even leather-bound French translations of the masterworks of Catholic saints, apparently, despite the fact that I neither read nor speak French. When I see books, I browse. When I see great books, beautiful books, cheap books, or neglected books, I tend to buy them.

I also tend to re-read favorite books. Again and again. The five books pictured above (my paperback set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, plus The Hobbit and The Guide to Middle Earth) were my constant companions from roughly sixth through eighth grade, and I've taped them back together more than once. And when I love a book, I read it slowly. Re-read parts I like until I've absorbed them. Re-read them again until I can share them with others.

As a result, it takes time for me to finish a book and start a new one. My famous friend Jacqui of Jacqui's Room challenged me and others to read 15 classics and 15 weeks way back in May of 2008. I used it as an excuse to buy books. I'm better than halfway through my list of 15 (in no particular order here...and Blood Meridian may not make the final cut), and I've loved them all. East of Eden is still my favorite book ever, and it took nearly 6 months to properly savor. The verse translation of The Odyssey was wonderful, but a journey in itself that seemed unending and took 11 months. And I've now entered my 12th month reading The Brothers Karamazov, which is dark, absurd, brilliant, and beautiful. I can't wait to finish...and yet I will not rush. (I hope to finish this weekend, but don't hold me to it.)

As a result, I have shelves of unread books. They call to me sometimes, begging to be opened and allowed to speak. In my Second Third, I'm going to have to cut back on books...

Nah. In my Second Third, I'm making more time to read. TV stinks anyway.

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