- Cullman, Alabama


January 1, 2013

COMMENTARY: Slate - 366 Days, 366 Books


I did have to give up some things. I listened to audiobooks exclusively — no music for me. I gave up video games, which wasn't as big a deal for me as I expected it would be. Mainly, though, I decided that "Starship Troopers 2," "Lost Boys 3," and "Saws V-VII" weren't worth the midnight oil I was expending on them. Yes, you, too, can read a book a day, just by giving up direct-to-DVD horror films!

If you're hoping to read a book a day, I also encourage shamelessness. You don't see salad-eating contests on the Fourth of July; you see hot dogs. So I grabbed as much literary junk food as I could stomach for the days when I wasn't reading a "real" book. For you, that might be erotica, or category romances. It might be fan fiction or "Star Wars" novels, pulps or New Age tracts. Whatever floats your boat. Reading is reading. My particular boat, by the way, was floated by the following, each of which I read to a double-digit degree: zombie novels, books about Old Hollywood, books about video games (I can't play you anymore, but I can read about you!), comedians' memoirs, and essay collections.

Here's another not-so-shameful secret: capes. Superheroes have saved me so many times I might as well be Lois Lane. I can start and finish a six-issue collection of "Captain America" or "Green Lantern" comics in less than an hour. That's a book, or at least it is under my definition of "something printed that cost about $20." Don't blame me, blame Marvel Comics.

And lest you think all I did was splash in the literary kiddie pool, I also read works of Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Nicholson Baker, Thomas Hardy, James Baldwin, Umberto Eco and Weird Al Yankovic. I have now read everything by Mary Roach and Alice Sebold, and am [begin ital] thiiiis [end ital] close to having the complete set of Bill Bryson and Sarah Vowell.

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