Reading Lists & Destination Bookstores
While I've read a high volume of books for many years, I don't have a reading list. Do you? I was fascinated to see the article in The New Yorker about Art Garfunkel's reading list which he has faithfully kept for almost forty years. As Nick Paumgarten points out the Garfunkel Library begins in June 1968 then chronologically lists 1023 books that Garfunkel has read.
If you check out the list you will see that Garfunkel is committed to reading classics and reading for pleasure. I loved this quote about his commitment to reading: "I read for the reading pleasure, not for the gold star," [Garfunkel] he went on. "Reading is a way to take downtime and make it stimulating. If you're in the waiting room of a dentist's office and don't want to twiddle your thumbs, you turn to Tolstoy."
I identified with this statement since for many years I've used spare moments any place to pull out a book and plunge into the topic. Yet the idea never crossed my mind to keep track of the various books which I've read. About the only time I can think of even using a reading list was during my final years of high school. I used a college preparatory reading list to give me ideas for classics and books which I read for pleasure but also wove into my high school assignments. It was a good step and gave me some needed exposure to those books before college.
Besides this article where Art Garfunkel is declared the King of Reading, my local newspaper included this article about nine destination bookstores (which I found repeated in the Chico, California paper using Google). The diversity is fascinating and I've only been in two of the nine stores: The Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado and Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon. Each experience was special and unique. I agree with travel editor Beth J. Harpaz about getting list in Powell's bookstore. You do need a map for the complicated twists and turns in that place.
For many years, I've read about The Strand in New York City and actually stayed near Union Square for the American Society of Journalists and Authors meetings but going to that classic bookstore did not get into my plans. I'm eager to see if I can get to it in April during my next trip to New York City.
My point in this entry about The Writing Life is to point out the necessity of being committed to reading books on a regular basis and if you reach one of these destination bookstores, to poke around inside them.