Book intimidation

Posted on 22.07.2012


I wonder if I’m the only one who goes through this. I guess it applies to everyone, even if they’re NOT trying to read more? Or does it?

As you most likely know, I’m trying to read more. This year, I was also trying to do some Art History self-study, along with a year of reading Shakespeare front to back. So far, I’m majorly failing across all fronts. In my own defense, this year has been an odd one for me, full of trips out of the country, odd weather patterns, a new fitness website, big life decisions and the like. So I’ve been scattered. At best.

But the coming week will be something like a descent into madness: I’m having an operation on Tuesday that will require me to be on bedrest for the rest of the week. Then there will be a weekend, and René will come home. I’ve got no less that 50 DVDs at the house to keep me entertained while I’m on the couch, although what I should really be doing is reading. Because I clearly have enough books on my to-read list to stay occupied. That photo is of my ‘to-read’ section on the bookshelf. Yeah, I’ve got some work ahead of me.

There’s this problem, though, that I’m a bit intimidated at the moment. Not by the sheer number of books, but by WHAT TO READ FIRST. Because, as you can see, I’ve got a ton of options. I just finished Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and am slowly making my way through Sebald’s Vertigo. Vertigo is a tough read that requires a second book on the side. Like a mistress. Like photography was for me during my Graphic Design degree program. So, I could pick up another book to read in between. But which book?

My first thought was to finally jump into the next Shakespeare book, Henry VI (all three parts). But then I thought that if Vertigo is heavy, why compound it with Shakespeare? I think that might be some kind of overkill.

My next thought was to read an art book: I’ve borrowed an Egon Schiele book from a friend and it looks like a really interesting (not to mention GORGEOUS) read… The next project I want to work on will be a mixed media series of drawings, and Schiele and Klimt are kind of the direction I’m heading in. So to read a book on Schiele would be an intelligent move, since reading books about artists that I love always makes me want to go and make art. Sitting/laying on the couch is the perfect location for that, you know? And I’ve got the tools around me to do whatever I want, should I feel the urge. Nowhere to go, and a long list of friends who will be popping in and out, should I need live models.

But artist biographies are also not exactly ‘light reading’. So I’m concerned that against Vertigo, this might not be the best choice, although it is definitely better than Shakespeare.

What else is there? I could read some of the smaller books, like my copy of Everybody Poos that I just got in the mail, or Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist. But would I put them on my read list? They’d surely up the numbers, but I’ll have them finished in an hour. Isn’t that considered padding, or cheating?

There’s some light fiction on the shelf. I’ve got The Help, which I’ve already seen. Just finished another book that was adapted to the screen. The Bhagavad Gita? Upanishads? Can we really consider religious texts to be fiction or light reading? Well, I guess when it’s not the religion you practice… Not that I practice any of them. I could finish The Art of War, which is on my phone/kindle app, but I think I’d do better to read that when I’m back to training.

This is the dilemma. I have no idea what to read next. But I think I’m actually leaning towards the art book. I need to make good on that ‘year of self study’ I was going for. That would be a good and lovely place to start.

Does this happen to anyone else? A bookshelf full of books to read and complete indecision?

Posted in: books