• Carmen Milligan

Reading lists

I was thinking about David Bowie's extensive library, the fact that he loved to read, and just feeling an overall sense of being thankful that I existed in the world at the same time as this musical genius. Maybe waxing a little poetic.

And that got me thinking about reading lists. I love a good reading list. And I want a reading list to have a compelling story behind it. Not just a list that a fellow bibliophile has created for the heck of it. I created a reading list of Pulitzer Prize for Literature books that I set out to read. I read about eight before I threw in the towel, with the thought, "What on earth was the criteria?"

Then, of course, I went to the internet to do a search on "book list". One of the most pervasive was the Rory Gilmore Book List. It popped up everywhere. Having never watched the show, I am still very impressed that one of the main characters is a voracious reader, and perhaps sparked a love of reading in "Gilmore Girls" viewers. Well done, show writers!

Then I stumbled upon what looks to be the mother of all book lists compilations. This site boasts a book list for just about everything! The Rory Gilmore Book List is there, with 339 books. But you can also find a list of 62 books with "Pediatric Illness Themes". I hate to think of the parent looking for such a book list, but am a bit comforted that someone took the time to compile a list on the topic.

Book lists keep a reader focused, I think, on the task at hand: reading. It's a visual goal that can very easily be attained, crossed off, and amended as necessary. To set a reading goal that is merely a number (i.e. I want to read 30 books this year) may be a little less restrictive, but it also lacks the defining that a good goal embodies.

Do I have a book list? Why, hell no. Should I? Why, hell yes. Why? Because when I finish one book, I am left searching, thinking, pondering, wondering, and yes, wandering to find my next read. Do all book lists have to have a theme? Not at all! They can be random picks from your personal library, they can be from a list of recommendations from friends, or they can be one of the myriad of challenges available.

I think the important thing is to have a list. Be flexible with your list, of course. I can't count the number of times my best friend Deanne has called and said, "What are you reading right now? Put it down and start reading ..... immediately." And she's usually spot on.

Let me know what you think!

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