Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Bibliophile's Dilemma

As 2009 loomed around the corner I had decided to abstain from the annual tradition of having a New Year’s Resolution. This decision came mostly as a result of my own cynicism and a deep seeded bitterness that “they never really work out anyway”. In past years my resolutions have been either loosely worded with vague meaning (i.e. “I will take better care of myself.”), or something that I have been working on for a long time (i.e. “I will try to buy more organic produce.”) and would likely continue to work on it with out any though to “that’s my resolution!”. In the end, like most resolutions and attempts to better one’s own life, they work out or they don’t. So we can’t say that I necessarily resolved to not make a resolution, because that’s just silly, but the fact that it’s the beginning of a new year and the fact that I stumbled upon this article has sparked a thought in me.

It has been a goal of mine, as it is with many bibliophiles, to read the classics. I am sad to discover that I have only read a mere eight books on that list. At least four of the books were in the top ten. I want to increase the number of books on the list that I have read, but it is not going to happen easily – I am a slow reader and am part of a book group that tends to read more recent publications. On top of that it is impossible for me to read two fiction books at the same time – I tend to get the plots confused. (I know what you’re thinking how did this woman graduate from college with an English degree? Very careful planning. ) I know, I know it’s all the same excuses to not accomplish the aforementioned goal, but I didn’t set a time line on it, nor did I necessarily resolve to do it. Just because I want to at some point accomplish this, and it just happens to be at the beginning of a New Year, that doesn’t make it a resolution. Right? Perhaps purely by my say so it is not a resolution but more of a desire for accomplishment.

Now my internal devil’s advocate says, who dictated that those books find their way to the list of top 100 books of all time? I am sure that these choices were based upon some literary prowess based on style, plot development, word usage, and proper punctuation, but you have to know that someone somewhere would disagree with their choices. It looks like Time Magazine did on a few. So then, what is a book lover to do? Follow someone else’s arbitrary list, or determine one of my own?
That’s it. I know exactly what my non-resolution for 2009 will be. I will read whatever I want to read.

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