Woohoo, I did it! I finished two books, and my list of books to read is actually two books shorter! With that Border's gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I am not sure how much longer I can keep this trend up, but it's a good feeling to be chipping away at that list.
Today I finished The Know-It-All (One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World) by A.J. Jacobs. This is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. The kind of funny where I had to put the book down so that I could laugh. The kind of funny where I would burst into giggles at random times when I would remember something I read in it. Great book!
Next, I am going to turn back to my Martha Grimes mysteries. These are generally quick reads, but the next one in the series has 432 pages. Combined with the kids coming back today, I fear this means I won't be finishing another book for a while, but at least I am enjoying what I am reading. For a long time I was doing most of my book buying from the bargain table. Sometimes this is a good thing--I have gotten books that I really wanted, in hardbook, for $5-7. I found some really great books that I would never have searched out that way (most notably, off the top of my head: My Little Blue Dress by Bruno Maddox), but it has a couple of problems, too. First off, I end up buying books that I really don't want, just because they are on the bargain table. I do this especially when they are having "Buy 4 Bargain Books, get the 5th Free" sales. As if getting one of the book free is more important than getting books I actually want. Also, obviously, not all books make it to the bargain table. These are mostly hardcover books that are getting ready to come out in paperback. Once the paperbacks come out, it is a lot harder to convince people to pay $30 for the hardcover, so they get thrown on the bargain table at prices comparable to the paperback. So, whole categories of books are ruled out here--books that came out a long time ago and have been in paperback for ages, books that never came out in hardcover, books that were extremely popular, even in hardcover, and probably something else that is not coming to mind right now.
I have a friend who buys most of her books from the bargain table. She prefers hardcover books, and she buys a lot of books, so the bargain table works best for her. I like hardcover books, too, but I can't stand limiting myself to one small section of the bookstore, no matter how good the deals are there. This is all reading to me like an elaborate justification for my geekiness, but this Excel workbook with the list of books I want to buy is really working for me. I can branch out from the bargain table without worrying that I am going to waste my money on books I really won't like. Also, it's a much less daunting way to investigate various sections of the bookstore. I can head to the Sociology section with at least one book that I know I want, and feel free to browse for others. Or the History section, or whatever.
Or maybe the justification thing is more accurate. But I like the image of being an adventurer, even if it is just in the bookstore. And, at least one area of my life feels totally organized, which is a very cool anomaly.