Monday, August 20, 2007

I Just Like To Read

I'm fast approaching middle age, I have a somewhat classical education (referred to in modern terms as 'liberal'), I am only marginally politically active (I vote and spend as much time as I can find in a vain attempt to do so from an informed stance), I have a marginal job in retail after chasing corporate success for 10 years only to find myself corporately unemployed at the end of it. (The headhunter calls come much more rapidly now than they did then I promise). I am happily married to my second wife, I have a dog and she has three, very marvelous children. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for close to 30 years. I also read suspense thrillers, mysteries and satire. But mostly and by preference I read science fiction and fantasy.

As I got more involved in the joy of reading, I started collecting the books I was reading. I now have over 300 signed first editions. I have met a great number of authors, editors and publishers, but only in passing. And most of the other people I meet or talk to about science fiction and fantasy want to write.

I don't. Not that I think there's anything wrong with being a writer. Indeed, I am probably more in awe of the ability to write than I am of childbirth. I am unabashedly and proudly a reader. I am an avowed and unrepentant enjoyer of the writers art. To write would require large parts of my soul that, without casting aspersions, I simply cannot imagine myself being able to surrender. And that's the easy part. Then to take the hours of loving labor to a publisher and have them tell me that my blood, sweat and tears were - at best - sophomoric, well, I would be shattered. So out of laziness and fear, I read.

But having determined my proper place in the literary cycle. I then proceed to be the best damn reader that I can be. I am the worst nightmare and the best friend of the author. I aspire to be a critc (shudder!). I read incessantly and rapidly. I read the last Harry Potter in just over six hours. I then wrote a review. Its what I do.

I read. I love to read. I love what I read, even when I don't love it. I love the act of reading. I find it enlightening, educational, relaxing and expansive. I have read thousands of books. Most at least with some redeeming value as stories, some dogs and even fewer great works of literature. I have recognized some of the great literature before they hit the open market, I have also warned friends and neighbors off some awful works. Some great literature goes unrecognized. Some dreck is well recieved. But I've read it all.

And I love it!

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