I suppose it should come to no surprise to some that I enjoy reading, and am a pretty fast reader to boot. Unfortunately, I tend to buy books to put into my library, and they end up sitting there because I find myself spending evenings watching TV or playing video games instead. This started becoming unacceptable to me, so I decided to do something about it.
A few weeks ago, I declared Sundays to be reading days. This happened after I found myself stuck in bed with severe back pain (due to aggravating a back injury), and wanted to be productive at least. I ignored my tablet and laptop all day (as my desktop PC was still inoperative), and spent the day reading instead. The first book I read was The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan (the third book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series), and Heat Wave by Richard Castle. After doing that, I decided that I would go ahead and make it a point to stay off the internet every Sunday until I’ve read at least one book. :-)
Last week’s book was Blowback by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett. Blowback was very much an impulse purchase; Jennifer and I were at Murder By The Book, a local independent bookstore specializing in mystery novels, when I happened to notice the book on a table. I didn’t know she wrote mystery novels, and in fact this was her first one. I knew of her as the former CIA operative whose cover was blown in retaliation for her husband revealing that one of George W. Bush’s claims regarding Iraq’s WMD developments were false. The book itself was a pretty decent mystery thriller, involving a CIA operative seeking out the man who was murdering her contacts, hoping he’ll lead her to a mysterious terrorist/criminal mastermind she had been pursuing. It’s obvious Plame used her background as an operative in the novel. I’ll likely pick up the second book, if/when it should come out.
I went ahead with a “related” book yesterday: Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. While the thriller film Green Zone was based on the book, the book itself is non-fiction and does not delve into the search for WMDs in Iraq. Instead, the book (based on interviews and the author’s own experience on the ground) delves into the American occupation of Iraq after the invasion, leading up to the handoff of sovereignty to the Iraqis. It’s a pretty damning account of how badly the attempts at reconstruction and formation of the new government were handled. The common theme throughout the process is that qualified and experienced individuals were pushed aside and ignored in favor of those who followed the Bush administration’s political orthodoxy and told them what they wanted to hear. As a result, the country was left in far more of a mess than it was when they found it. I’m seriously considering picking up my own copy of the book; the copy I read was borrowed from my father-in-law, who received it from me as a Christmas gift a year or two ago.
The next few books in my list will likely be The Cuckoo’s Calling by “Robert Galbraith”, Necropolis by Michael Dempsey, and A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter J. Miller, Jr. All three are books I picked up at Half-Price Books and intended to read, but never got around to doing so. My hope is that by scheduling one day a week as a pure reading day (excluding any needed errands or chores, of course) I’ll be able to knock out most of my literary pile of shame. :-)
Of course, that will mean I’ll need to buy more books, but that’s a never a bad thing…