We all do it. Us book lovers. But who would have thought it could be so dangerous? We come across a book: be it the recommendation of a friend, a mention on a podcast, a gripping title, maybe even through a blog post.
“Ahhh, yes,” we say. “I’d like to read this book, but not right this second, I’ve already got three on the go.” So what do we do? We put it on a list. A little innocuous scrap of paper we tuck into our wallet.
And this list grows. And grows. And grows some more. Every once in a while we’ll try to cross a book off the list, but when we do we find three more have taken its place! Then one day, when we’re out for dinner, we pull out our wallet in a vain attempt to find our credit card a hundred little innocuous scraps of paper fly out like confetti. Our friend exclaims, rather loudly, for this isn’t the first time this has happened: “Gee, maybe you should think about getting rid of some of those old receipts!”
We try to explain that these aren’t receipts. These are guideposts, reminders of our interests that we haven’t yet had time to pursue. But it’s too late; our friend is busy paying our bill, again. So we fall to our knees, partially out of shame, partially to collect those little innocuous bits of paper. It’s at this point we know we’ve created monster and as we hear the whir of our friend’s credit card receipt print out we realize this monster is not dissimilar to the ancient Greek Hydra with its ever expanding collection of heads. This in turn reminds us we should probably brush up on our mythology, so we jump up and snatch the receipt out of the machine and quickly scrawl The Iliad on the back. The glare on our friends face as we shove the receipt into our wallet suggests that this particular piece of paper may not in fact be so innocuous.
And if you’re wondering about me, here is a (small) sample of the innocuous pieces of paper in my wallet:
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
I have a friend who reads a lot a lot. When pressed for a favourite book she can’t choose just one, but hands down her favourite author is Wally Lamb. So when I asked her where to start she sighed, “Really anywhere, but The Hour I First Believed is great.” I’m not convinced she didn’t just say the first title that popped into her head, but I’ll believe his entire body of work is worth reading.
Remainder by Tom McCarthy
I have no memory of why I added this book to my list, which is ironic because apparently the main character receives a substantial sum of money and, unsure what else to do with it, attempts to recreate half-remembered events from his life.
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
I want to read this book based on the title alone. Robots are cool and I love apocalyptic literature. It is also written by an actual robotics expert! This book also seems more pertinent now than when I added it to my list as autonomous robots come ever closer to being a part of society’s day-to-day life.
The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winnipeg Campaigns by Sasha Issenberg
As the slow burn toward the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election continues I find myself more and more fascinated by the inner workings of the U.S. political system. The Victory Lab takes a look at how big-data can help to predict who an electorate will vote for and how politicians are using this information to aid their campaigns.
Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt For The World’s Rarest 78 RPM Records by Amanda Petrusich
I’m pretty sure I found out about this book on a podcast. While I have no particular interest in 78s (they were a little before my time) I find reading about people who have passions that border on obsession fascinating.
If you would like to share any of your innocuous pieces of paper, please do so!