In Theory

After a minute the doors of the palazzo opened. The others caught a glimpse of ranks of bookcases – the warm, secret paper heart of the City. — The Magicians

I have a problem with books.

Books are my comfort food, the thing I do when I don’t know what else to do. But to be honest, I tend to spend too much time with them. I keep researching when I should be moving on to field work. I look at research as something “productive” I can spend my time on, but I pursue it long past the point of productivity.

Neither my “creative” goal nor my “magical” goal is about reading more. Reading is what I do when I’m scared to start something, or I don’t know how to do it. Not that I don’t have plenty of books hanging around at the moment; I do. But too much of my research is what I do in lieu of actual work.

I think it’s actually worse since I made the switch largely to electronic books. They don’t take up space anymore. I can round up dozens for free with very little trouble, and let’s be honest, at least half of the really interesting stuff is being done online anyway. I just file it all away for later, reading whenever I don’t want to be doing something else.

I can’t quite bring myself to say that I’m not going to read in 2012. That would be ridiculous. But I am trying to be more mindful of why I’m reading, and how I choose the things I spend my time on.

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