If you had told me, back when I was a child, that I would one day have too much to read, I wouldn’t have laughed at you, both because I was shy and because I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend your words. (“Roboto, your words have no meaning. You are in error.”) I might have stared at you as if you’d grown a second head, though.
When I was a kid, there were never enough books. We didn’t live close enough to either town to go to the library frequently. During school, I was allowed to check out more than the maximum number of books, because the librarian knew I’d bring them all back, all read at least once. And my family wasn’t the book-buying kind, so my library fit on two small shelves. I reread books a lot. I got to the point where I could read my favorite Nancy Drew, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher, in 20 minutes. As in, while eating a snack. (Liverwurst and Muenster on Ritz crackers, mostly likely.)
In high school, I bought whatever books I could with my limited funds, and then my best friend—who lived in Virginia—and I would mail books to each other. The cost of a shoebox of paperbacks sent Media Rate was equivalent to what? the cost of one paperback?
Now, let’s face it, with the plethora of ebooks available, not to mention the library, and Powells, and freebies from conferences, and so forth, I have scads of things to read. (I keep going to the library instead of reading the piles of books all over the apartment. Sheez.)
But the problem is, right now, I have things to read that have deadlines.
- I have stories to read for the upcoming Anthology Workshop. I’m halfway through (I’ve read three of six anthology submissions’ worth of stories). That still leaves about 125 stories. I don’t have to read each one all the way through: we’re supposed to read like an editor would, so if I fade out, I just note where I faded out and move on to the next. Unfortunately (fortunately?), given the level of professionalism, most stories don’t let me out. (Which makes choosing 55,000 words for each anthology as I would put it together a real PITA.) Really good stories. Really hard choices. Deadline: Feb 26. I could read the final anthologies’ stories while I’m at the workshop, but let’s face it, I’ll be too busy hanging with a slew of amazing writer-friends and also trying to get a a few words in on my own projects each day.
- I have novels to read for the upcoming Romance Workshop. I can’t go into detail, but the first novel on the list is one I do not like. Even if we’ve read things on the list before, we’re supposed to read them again. I do not want to read it again. I realized last night that I was delaying going to bed because I did not want to read the novel. Aaaargh. Also, one of the later novels is really, really long, so I can’t dawdle on this. Deadline: April 15.
- I’m going through Love, in Stitches, Teresa’s and my latest coauthored effort, in creative mode, fixing notes we’ve left for ourselves, writing new scenes, etc. It’s mostly reading. Deadline: I’d like to have it finished this week, although I’m not as far along as I’d like. IN part because of these other things I have to read.
- I’m doing a developmental edit for a Lucky Bat Books client. This is, you guessed it, 99% reading (and 1% taking notes/leaving comments). Deadline: not fixed, but soon-ish. As in, I should be working on this every day.
Am I complaining? Not…not really. Not about the reading. Other than the novel I do not like one iota, dammit, it’s all really good stuff. As long as I remember why I’m reading what I’m reading (am I reading in creative mode? as a developmental editor? as an anthology editor? as a copyeditor? Who am I right now? ::cue existential angst::), I’m golden.
I think it’s just the deadlines I hate…they’re stressing me out, man.