Is my poor memory with books related to the fact that I became, at times, a reading robot? Yes, it probably is. Books should be an accomplishment, and when you finish one, you should be proud of it; that’s why we have bookshelves. A book is a bound bundle of mental stimulation and transportation, and when you close it, if you’re reading a really good one, you should feel like you’re coming up for air, waking up from a really good dream. Anything that compromises the possibility of that feeling should be minimized, if not outright eradicated.
If you haven’t read Gabe Habash’s piece about the ups and downs of setting reading goals — “Reading 55 Books in 2011: What I Learned” from Publisher’s Weekly — then you absolutely should. It’s not very long, but offers quite a bit of food for thought.
I like the point the article makes not to be a “reading robot,” just picking up books for the numbers or the pages or to meet some arbitrary reading goal. That isn’t stopping me from setting some goals of my own — too be posted sometime next week — but it has helped me reconsider what role reading goals play in a reading life.
But most of all, I love what he says about books in the paragraph I quoted above. A good book is a transporting experience that immerses the reader in a totally different world. If there’s one thing I hope for every reader in 2012, it’s to have as many of those coming up for air moments as possible.