What Facebook Told Me About My Reading Habits

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Weekend Book Binding by Nate Steiner

Weekend Book Binding by Nate Steiner

I am upset. Either my memory is slipping away or I don’t read enough good books. I just finished the latest note making the Facebook rounds: 15 Random Books I Enjoyed Reading.

The books that sprang to mind first were all from my childhood/early teen years. Then I was stumped. A few titles trickled in, but I eventually had to step away from the computer and look through my bookshelf. Actually look at the titles and think, hmm, did I enjoy that? Books that I didn’t like were the ones that kept jumping to mind. Am I reading that many books that I don’t like (as an aspiring writer, I hate to say bad books…that would be bad karma!)? Or is my memory just so bad that those really, really good books that I read all the time get pushed out in favor “don’t forget to take your train pass this morning?”

It was also disheartening to look at my bookshelf and realize that a handful of them are just eh…and yet I refuse to let them go.

A roommate once said she was afraid that she’d come home to find me dead under a pile of books and papers. This was a comment on the awful state of my room rather than my book collecting, but I think she may be right. I’ll die, crushed under a pile of only-eh books.

Instead of taking the time-to-clean-out-my-stuff lesson, I choose to take away the I-need-to-read-better-books lesson. Any suggestions?

Here’s the Facebook 15:

1. Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
2. Jackaroo – Cynthia Voigt
3. Little House… – Laura Ingalls Wilder
4. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin
5. Year of Wonders – Geraldine Brooks
6. Harry Potter – JK Rowling
7. Ivanho – Sir Walter Scott
8. Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
9. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
10. Enchantment – Orson Scott Card
11. Mama Day – Gloria Naylor
12. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg
13. Desiree – Annemarie Selinko
14. Wicked – Gregory Maguire
15. The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander

Looking at this list, I also noticed that what I write and what I read are very different. I don’t write adventure books, but that seems to be what I read…or at least remember reading.

A while ago, I realized that I enjoyed reading mysteries (although those didn’t seem to make the list) and only ever watched TV police procedurals, so I challenged myself to write a TV script for a procedural drama. I didn’t think I could do it, but was pleased with the results.

Maybe I need to challenge myself to write an adventure…after I finish editing Julia, of course. One project at a time!

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3 thoughts on “What Facebook Told Me About My Reading Habits

  1. Suzanne

    Hey! I saw a link to this on your FB page so I thought I’d check it out. Is this Julia story the same one you wrote back when we worked together? If so, I remember you telling me about it! I still haven’t even started writing my novel that I told you about way back then. Not sure if you remember it, but it was about twins. I’m getting a lot of pressure to write it, but it makes me want to write it less. So who knows. I like this blog idea! Good luck!

    • camsrobbins

      Hey Suzanne!

      Yeah, it’s the same story. After I finished it, I put it away until earlier this year. I think editing is harder than the original writing!

      If you don’t want to write a story, it’s really hard to do. But, if you think you want to give it a shot, I really think you should. If you don’t know how to start, try this site: http://www.nanowrimo.org/ It’s how I wrote Julia.

      Hope you’re keeping cool!

  2. Jackie

    Fascinating list! Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve been spending the time you would have spent reading on writing — an equally admirable pursuit. Maybe someday one of your works will appear on someone’s recently read Facebook list.

    One suggestion that might help you out when these inevitable Facebook lists come around — keep a reading journal. You don’t have to write much, but just make a note of the books you’ve read recently so they’re always top of mind.

    Some recommendations for you: I’m currently reading Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos. You might like it: a very visual representation of New York in the ’20s. Or try The Stone Raft by Saramago — my book club just read that one and everyone enjoyed it. The Iberian peninsula breaks off from the rest of Europe (!) and begins to float away, and people’s lives change direction, both literally and metaphorically, as a result.

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