I am a slow reader, distracted by invasive images when a specific phrase triggers a flight of fantasy and my attention flees from the actual narrative. But still, I find time to devote to reading, stretched out on the floor with my feet on top of a heat register. My arm often goes asleep from the weight of my head, but then I just switch sides. My arm is stretched out in front of me to hold open my book, like taking a selfie with text.
This is how I have read. Or hunched over in a chair with my book spread open on a table top, held down with one hand so it doesn’t leap away. Or slumped sideways against a frosted bus window, book perched atop my backpack, pages held apart by a big assertive thumb in a leather glove. Or curled around a bowl of Doritos in the sun on my bed (but only when reading high fantasy, of course). So Bookstravaganza is a welcome challenge for me, demanding that I put all my various techniques into effect and read with haste.
Many of the books I hope to read have been on my list for a long time (She’s Come Undone, A Single Man, The Jungle), while others I have just heard of recently and said “sure why not?” (The Man Who Folded Himself, 2312, Tokyo MewMew Omnibus). Some of the books are there as research for the project I’m working on (The Badlands, Ficciones, the ambitious bottom-of-the-pile last-on-the-list A Thousand Plateaus), and some have been recommended to me enthusiastically (The Time Traveller’s Wife, Slaughterhouse-Five, JPod). All in all I am setting the realistic goal of ten books for myself, with an additional five waiting hopefully in reserve.
Three days for each book seems insane to me, as my reading usually stretches out over three weeks for one book (fortunately I am clever enough to overlap books, or else I guess I’d be at 17 books a year–which is 1,037 books left to read in my life if I make it to 82 which I’m skeptical about). All this computation and tabulation seems very cold and sterile to me (the opposite of warm, moist, lush books) but that’s the nature of an event which makes me count and pay attention to these sorts of things, and perform statistical analyses on my behaviour.
In any case, having no hope of being competitive in this contest, like a non-doped-up cyclist trailing Lance Armstrong, I’m just excited to participate in this literary Tour de France and dump a slew of new ideas into this melting pot I call my consciousness. Let the hunger games begin!