My daughter likes to read. I mean, she REALLY likes to read. She gets it from her mother, and both sets of her grandparents. Me? I like to read; I just haven’t done as much of it in my lifetime as I should have. It’s a terrible thing I know, but it is the truth.
I grew up with two educators for parents, my father being a sports nut and my mother a gym teacher and yoga fanatic as well. I read lots of books growing up. There were some Choose Your Own Adventure, of course. I read every single one of the Gordon Korman books. I also read: A Boy at the Leafs Camp (mandated reading for any kid growing up playing hockey in Toronto); Vladislav Tretiak’s book Tretiak: The Legend; and Ken Dryden’s The Game. My favourites though were The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald.
In high school I focused on math and science, and if I’m being honest, reading all that mumbo jumbo turned me off reading in a big way. Plus, I was more interested in sports, girls, my friends, and general teenage shenanigans. Curling up with a good book wasn’t high enough on my list of priorities. That said, reading a bunch of books is unavoidable in high school. I did manage to avoid reading a lot of the usual books. Careful selection of English classes saw to that (my high school was quite large and we had ample choices of English classes).
So, my high school years weren’t filled with tons of reading for pleasure. If I did it was almost always a Stephen King book. Fast forward to university and it was all advanced calculus, computers, and applied physics. If you throw in a little bit of drinking and a fair amount of debauchery what you don’t get is too many novels piling up on the night stand.
Then I grew up, got married, bought a house, had kids, moved a few times, changed jobs a few times… and started writing. Over the last five years or so I’ve read more books than all my previous reading years combined. None of them will ever be “classics” but many were quite enjoyable to read and I’m a better writer for having read (most of) them.
I am a writer with another job that’s not writing and I also have a family and a social calendar. I will always be fighting the battle between writing, reading, and just sitting on my ass doing nothing. I yearn for a time when my entire existence isn’t one giant exercise in prioritization. In that vain, I’m left to wonder what’s the point of a TBR (To Be Read) pile? The damn thing never gets any smaller!
For every one I do read there’s ten more I want to read and ten more on top of those that I should read. I think the pile exists mainly because there’s comfort in its existence. It’s good to know that there will always be something there; always something to do; always an adventure waiting for me. All I have to do is open the cover and turn a page. Also, if there were no TBR piles then I would have less incentive to have my book sitting on top of one.
- Save the Cat
– Blake Snyder (in progress)
- Signal to Noise
– Gordon Bonnet
- The Key to Everything
– Alex Kimmell
- Bigger Than Jesus
– Robert Chazz Chute
- Savage Fire
– Ben Langhinrichs
– Carolyn Arnold
- Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird
– Jesse James Freeman