So I’ve been trying to start this next book (while reading Fear and Loathing) called The Cloud of Unknowing. What the book is about doesn’t really matter; the problem is I’m having so much trouble starting it. It just kinda sits in my murse (might as well call a messenger bag what it is) looking up at me sort of forlornly, like “Aren’t…aren’t you gonna read me?” I just look back at it, look at Thompson, and usually wind up going with Thompson because I just burned through another religious text like it was nothing and I want to keep on reading about a campaign trail that technically doesn’t matter anymore. The Cloud could do a lot to enrich my life by helping me understand God from a negative perspective (this is called apophatic theology, or describing God from what he isn’t), but I’m more interested in the ranting and raving of a madman journalist (and believe me, he’s interesting).
This kind of thing goes for most of the 550 books I own. I didn’t buy all of them; some of them came to me as gifts or for free from people looking to get rid of them. Frankly, I do love every last book in my collection. I can tell you exactly where I got every single one, and there’s probably a story tied to each one. So why didn’t I read them?
1. It got busy at work. This actually does affect my reading quite sharply. See, I can get a lot of reading done at work if we aren’t busy. This is especially true when I work a later shift, like ’till 230 in the morning, when nothing is going on at all. I got through nearly an entire NT Wright book during this shift. Unfortunately, this shift isn’t fun to work when I have to be somewhere the next morning, nor is it frequently available, so I can’t rely on that to get reading done. Day shift, as of late, has been pretty crazy, so reading then is out.
2. I want to sleep when I get home. This wouldn’t be so bad if I would exercise more, but right now, I’m wiped out when I get home.
3. I’m married. This has its benefits, but quiet reading time in a one-bedroom apartment is hard to find. Not entirely lamenting this one.
4. I have electronic devices which serve for lots of entertainment outside of the written word.
5. Being honest, book reading makes me physically tired. I really try to fight this one, because I know what I’m reading is solid and good (most of the time), but no matter where I’m sitting and reading, or what I’m reading, I start to feel tired. Even coffee doesn’t always help.
6. This reason I’m ashamed of: I picked up some of these books because, subconsciously, I thought it would make me look smarter if it were sitting on my shelf. There, I said it. To some extent, I’m a philosophical/theological/whatever category you want poser. I get a lot of the concepts and understand what I read, but the fact is that I have only read about 18% of it (which is why I started a blog. Hoo-rah!).
7. This isn’t THAT much of a reason, but collecting books is actually fun. This is why I call myself a bibliophile: I love books. Part of that is reading them, but to me, getting a hold of a book with character, or a first edition, or a signed copy, is pretty cool. Sometimes I love books more than their contents, and one day, starting a collection of first editions and antique books and such would be very, very cool.
So there’s the reasons why I’ve had such a hard time getting into my collection. I’m glad I’m doing it now (but my wife is allowed to distract me), and I hope I learn a lot from all this. See you guys Friday.