Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Joy of Lists

There are two kinds of people in this world, those who love lists and those who don't. I am one who loves lists--to do lists, wish lists, grocery lists--you name it I've probably made it into a list. I don't know why I have such an attachment to lists. There is something so satisfying about them, so clean and clutter-free and organized. When it comes to books my lists get out of control. I have a list of books to look for when I am at the used books store. I have book wishlists divided into fiction, nonfiction and poetry. And I keep a list of books I have read and have been doing so since 1995. I started doing this when I realized halfway through a new book that I had read it three years before. It wouldn't be so bad if it was a good book, but as I cast back in my mind I had thought it "okay" after the first reading. A book has to be better than okay to get a second reading. So my book list was born. However, my personal book list is nothing compared to my hankering for books of book lists. I will never come close to reading all those books and I don't want to try (okay so I'm lying there. I would like to try. I would like to die trying). When I buy book list books I do it for a couple of reasons. First, I am looking for good books I may never have heard of before. And second, I like to tick off all the books I have read on the list and give myself half credit for books that are on my shelves and a quarter credit if I have heard of the book and considered reading it at one time. This can make me feel really smart if I have read a large number of the books, or really dumb if I have read only a few of the books. Of course, if I end up feeling really dumb then I immediately turn it around and blame the list for being too narrow, too stupid, too elitist, too anything. And as a consequence end up feeling, if not really smart, at least superior. It's a win-win situation. If you are not a list person, stop here and have a nice day. Thanks for stopping by. come back again soon. If you are a list person, read on for a list of good book list books.

And while not strictly books of book lists these still have some good book lists in them: There is also the Lifetime Reading Plan and the New Lifetime Reading Plan, neither of which I currently own. They always tempt me though and I know one of these days I am going to see one of them for $1 at the used book store and I will have to buy it. I think I have enough lists to hold me over for a little while at least.