Reading and not reading …

June 28, 2009

I’ve not been reading nearly as many books this year as in previous years.   I’m not quite sure what’s up with that.  I’ve started several, but haven’t managed to get past a couple of chapters.   I’m sorely annoyed that I’ve not gotten into the latest David Drake RCN paperback, having stalled 3 chapters in. I’ve also crapped out on two other books.

I’m currently reading a biography of Che Guevara though, Che, by Jon Lee Anderson. Don’t ask me what attracted me to that, other than I’ve wanted to read it sporadically for years. I’m in a little over a hundred pages in, Guevara is 25 years old and about 14 years away from being dead in Bolivia, and there are 500 pages left. I know we’ve got the Cuban Revolution in there but jesus, that’s a lot of pages left for less than a decade and a half of life.

My choice of a book usually occurs in two ways: one, I have a connected reading plan, usually subject related, say, reading a few books about a certain period of history; or two, I am haphazard in the extreme.

An example of the latter: before Che, I read a book called The Tutankhamun Deception, by Gerald O’Farrell, which alleges a cover-up and related conspiracy concerning the Tut excavation. O’Farrell claims that archaeologist Howard Carter and his partner, Lord Carnarvon, found the tomb years before they let the world know and emptied most of it, erecting a false wall at the end to hide the remains of the empty tomb. There are also some ideas that now-lost/purposely covered-up papyri were found to indicate the Jewish religion is actually based on Egyptian history, with Tut’s probable father, the heretic pharaoh Akhenaton, being exiled and now known as Moses and leading the Semites from Egypt.

How did I start that book? I’m definitely not a conspiracy buff. No, having dozens of unread books laying around my room, I found this small paperback at Half-Price a few weeks ago and, because Egyptian history is one of my interests, the idea just intrigued me at the time – whether I believed it or not. And I dived in.

Now, suddenly I’m reading Che. What the heck? King Tut to Che Guevara?

And with all those dozens, if not hundred, of unread books in boxes and shelves, I keep buying more. I went to a library sale the other day and picked up books by Mike Resnick, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, and Bruce Olds.

I’m doomed. I’ll never read all this. It’s a vice. And an endless, impossible battle.

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