Tag Archives: Reading

Reading List of Doom 2: The Changing Face of Doom

Reading List of Doom. And this is only the prioritized stuff.

Reading List of Doom. And this is only the prioritized stuff.

It has been just over eighteen months since I first opined about the “Reading List of Doom.” In that time I have had the pleasure of finishing quite a few wonderful books and I’ve changed the way I read quite a bit. With that in mind, I thought it was high time I revisit this never ending yet glorious topic.

I’ve mentioned before that I have given up reading comics in hard copy. While this was a difficult decision for me, it is one that I have been ever so pleased with, and though I don’t consider comics part of my reading list, the shift to digital has resulted in some other changes. Often, I used to work on the List at work during my lunch. I would either transport my book back and forth, or, as was more often the case, I would simply have a work book and a home book. While this did double the number of books I was reading at one time, I often found that it felt like I was making less progress overall, even with the extra time. Trying to dive deep into the plot of a book while trying to eat and not think about work just didn’t work out very well. Instead of this only mildly successful endeavor, I have started reading my comics at work. With the help of a new Kindle Fire, I am able to easily make my way through the week’s comics over the course of several days. On average I can read four comics each day during my lunch, though if I’m trying to read Silver Age X-Men­ it is often closer to one and a half. Regardless, I have discovered that my comic reading has gone up dramatically, much to my enjoyment.

Turns out this glow isn't so great for you.

Turns out this glow isn’t so great for you.

Since I have given up my lunch reading, I felt it was important to provide myself with reading time elsewhere in the day. The time I have found works best is the hour before bed. Since I suffer from sleep apnea, I have spent a fair amount of time doing research online about ways to improve the quality of sleep I get. In my research I discovered that although playing a video game or watching Netflix until I pass out might be an enjoyable way to spend the evening, staring at the LCD/LED screen is not so good for me. Turns out that the color of light emitted from these screens is blue and blue light is great for helping the brain to wake up. Looking at screens right before bed causes the brain to have a much more difficult time shutting down to go to sleep, thus resulting in a less restful night. Because of this I have endeavored to turn off all screens (TV, computer, phone, iPad, etc.) an hour before bed. This has now become my reading hour. While it’s true that there are some nights I don’t get the full hour because I can’t keep my eyes open (Yes, I’m getting old. Shut up.), I feel like I am making much better progress on the List.

As for the List itself, it expands and contracts as I buy new books and finish old ones. No longer does it reside in a stack on one particular shelf. This is largely due to the fact that I bought new bookcases and could actually give the books a more permanent home. The List is now more a concept in my mind. In many ways it always has been, and the physical stack was merely a manifestation of my desire to read certain books in a given order, which to be quite honest, was never very concrete. I would often add or subtract books from the list as the mood would strike me. It is ever changing and will never be finished. As much as I am a completionist, I take a certain pride and deep pleasure in knowing that no matter what I do, I will leave this particular task unfinished.

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Filed under Andrew Hales, Books

The Reading List of Doom

I scream sometimes in the shower.  “So many good books, so little time to read them!” I cry out, with nothing to hear my pain but the falling water. I bang my head against the hard tiles in an attempt to stop the pain, but it fails.  It doesn’t help that I’m a slow reader. The ever expanding pile of books that I want to read absolutely drives me crazy, and doesn’t even count magazines, graphic novels, and my weekly comics.  On one hand, it’s a blessing to have so many good books that are worth my time, and on the other it’s a curse that I’m certain is designed by some evil being to drive me completely insane.  The Reading List of Doom as I like to call it has presented me with a particularly stubborn challenge to overcome.

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Not exactly the best idea.

My indecision can sometimes lead to another option:  reading multiple books at once. There are times where this system does work; however, it usually ends up meaning that I make less progress on each book than I otherwise would.  My typical method in this case is to read one book at work during lunch and then read the other at night in bed.  While in theory this would allow me to make progress on both, it rarely works out that way.  The only time that reading more than one book at a time is a good idea is when I get fatigued with one, but don’t just want to abandon it half way through.  For instance, right now I’m working my way through Game of Thrones but since I’ve seen the show and know what happens, I’m a little tired of it.  George R. R. Martin’s writing is wonderful and reading the book has added quite a bit to my love of the world he has created, but it’s 800 pages of story I already know, after all. I’m over 500 pages in and I don’t want to give up, especially since there are four more books for me to read. So instead I’ve put down Game of Thrones and picked up The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph by T.E. Lawrence.  It’s a nice change of pace and it relieves my fatigue. Best of all it moves the list forward.

In my family there is no such thing as too many books. In fact such a statement is tantamount to heresy.  My father collects military history books and has several thousand volumes, so I grew up with stack and piles all around the house that formed as we ran out of bookshelf space.  Sadly, in my case, there are few books I actually collect simply for the sake of having a library available on a particular subject.  Most of my reading is whatever strikes my fancy and is usually not worth anything. I use this fact to justify not buying books to add to my stash, since the content isn’t particularly valuable, but I also hate it.

As a kid this was all much less of a problem as I was a much faster reader. Somewhere along the way I lost that talent and I sorely miss it. One summer I plowed through Airframe in 5 hours. I was averaging just over 100 pages an hour! Now I’m lucky to get through 30 in the same time. I wish I had the skill to push through my reading list at a rate such that I have to buy new books to keep up. One of my good friends has that ability and I am so jealous. He has to look hard to find new books he wants to read, while the Reading List of Doom is rapidly approaching the height of a 12 year old.

Reading List of Doom. And this is only the prioritized stuff.

Reading List of Doom.
And this is only the prioritized stuff.

In the end, I know that the Reading List of Doom is not the worst thing that can happen to me.  I am fortunate that I enjoy reading and that I live in a place that embraces free speech and allows me to read whatever I please. Reading provides nourishment for my hunger for knowledge.  I have a wide variety of interests and it’s always nice to find a book that helps to increase my level of knowledge regarding a particular topic, even if that book may be stuck at the bottom of the reading list for a while.  Fear not, book-on-the-bottom-of-the-pile, soon enough you will have new brethren to join you while you wait to share your wonderful content with me.

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Filed under Andrew Hales, Books