Reader Envy

by Steve

As a writer I am moved by inspirational stories, interesting content, or just plain old fashion good writing, of which there is plenty to find coming from the growing community of D-bloggers. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t find myself envious of what someone else has written either because of their talent or the fact that I didn’t get to the subject matter first (happens all the time: you get a great idea for a story or post and then read where someone else beat you to the writing of it. How can an emotion be depressing and rewarding at the same time?)

I am not a voracious reader, that is, I don’t read a ton of books all the way through (see first sentence for requirements), but I am a writer and I do read a lot of books or articles and when friends ask for reading recommendations I find myself a bit flabbergasted that I can only come up with the most recent titles, or, more likely, just the one sitting on my desk at that very moment, a weakness I blame on second hand smoke, which, not surprisingly, another writer has already written about (see what I mean?).

Most of the books I read I get from the library, so I asked them for a rundown of what I’ve checked out, but unfortunately for me–and apparently criminals, too–they don’t keep historical records from worry of being asked to provide such a list by a court of law (honestly?). Almost as frustrating is going to the library to retrieve the books I’ve requested through their online catalog only to find some bizarre title that I can’t for the life of me recall why I’d ever wanted to check it out in the first place. I’d offer examples of this, but since I’m sure it is my recall and not my reasoning that is at fault here once again, It’s probably best if I leave those titles undisclosed–assuming of course I could remember them, which leads me back to…

I’ve also tried keeping up with a booklist on my computer, but according to the file’s last saved date, the most recent book worthy of mention I read on June 28, 2006; and I’ve also learned of websites that will not only keep track of the books you read but recommend others you might like based on the genre, style, and who knows what else. For some reason though I just can’t get into the knack of keeping an electronic list anymore than I’ve been able to use an Ereader to enjoy a book (I’m trying though, I’m trying).

Where does that leave me? Well, this blog has proven in the past (here and here) to be a pretty good outlet for sharing little bits of the reading I’ve done and I think it could stand a bit more. Books. Journals. Articles. Essays. Other blogs. Whatever sparks my interest, inspires or is just plain good old writing.

I don’t think people read enough–I know I didn’t use to. Maybe that’s because so much of what we read doesn’t go deep enough into the type of emotional terrain that can move us. I’m not talking earthshattering content, but enough to make us think or explain or relate in some way to what’s going on in our own lives. Something that speaks to the heart: You’re not alone.

If nothing else, sharing it on Without Envy will give me a place to go to the next time a friends asks, What have you read lately?

Next week on Reader Envy, something light: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, by David Eagleman.