Category Archives: The Rules

Why

When I was a kid and first discovered reading, I thought to myself, “I’m going to read alll the books.”* You might think that was naïve, but I grew up in a tiny town. Our public library was about the size of a downtown condo. Standing in those few stacks, with my entire life ahead of me, my ambition didn’t seem too outrageous.

Later I learned that I could read forever and never get to the end of the books. So, resigned to failure, I read indiscriminately. And have wasted too much time reading the wrong books. I no longer have my entire life ahead of me. Time to be picky.

But what are the right books? Dude, I have all the lists of award winners, best-of-the-years, and 100-books-you-must-read-before-you-die. The award winners are often expensive or checked out for months at the library. The best-of-the-year lists can be questionable in retrospect. The 100-books-you-must-read are usually highly subjective: too British, too American, too white, too male.

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