If this piece looks familiar to you it is because it appeared briefly last Wednesday before I realized I had sent James the wrong column and he very kindly fixed it. If you commented on it last week, please feel free to include the same or a different comment today. (And if you didn’t see what I wrote about Mark Twain last week go back and take a peek).
by Rob Lopresti
It’s probably time to admit it. I have a problem. A definite problem.
It started simply enough. A few weeks ago I was reading two books. One was Blackout, the latest novel by Connie Willis, one of my favorite science fiction authors. The other was a biography: Mark Twain: Man In White, by Michael Shelden.
And that was fine. I like being able to shift between fiction and non-fiction, depending on my mood.
But they were both hardcovers and I also like to have a paperback I can slip in my pocket. So I dug into my waiting-to-be-read shelf and found Murder In The Hearse Degree by Tim Cockey, a comic mystery.
Then I had to drop by the public library for something and I spotted The Snake, The Crocodile, and the Dog, by Elizabeth Peters. I had been meaning to catch up with her Amelia Peabody series, and that was the next one for me to read. So I borrowed it.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
At the university library where I work I found we just acquired Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology, and the Wrath of God, by Amos Nur and Daw Burgess, and how could a dig and mythology nut like me pass that up?
And that’s when the latest issues of Alfred Hitchcock’s and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazines arrived. Now the situation was getting desperate.
But wait. There’s more!
Because sitting on my desk are three history books that I want to skim for background on a story that popped into my head this week. I have carefully set them aside, even though I am yearning to read them.
Because this is crazy. And I am not even discussing the approximately two shelves of other books on my to-read shelves. Perhaps I should stay home from work. I could call in literate.
On the bright side, I guess, the Cockey book seems to have vanished. I took it with me when we went to the local ice cream parlor and, in a milk- shake-induced sugar haze, I seem to have lost track of it. Maybe that’s all for the best. Without it I am only reading one, two, three, four, five books/magazines at the same time.
Like I said, I think I have a problem.
Did I mention that I am a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and April is the time members are supposed to read and vote on the nominees for the Derringer Awards?
And last week< a friend of mine asked me to read a book of his that is about to be published.
So I am feeling guilty for writing this when I should be reading my friend’s book, and when I read that I feel guilty for not getting to the library book which will soon be overdue, and when I’m reading that I know I should be reading the Derringer stories, and when I delve into them I remember that my wife is waiting for her chance at the Connie Willis book. Maybe I should let her read it first, do you think?
Did I mention I have a problem?
How many books are you reading?