I read. A lot. And sometimes with friends it seems embarrassing. A book or more a day seems abnormal in a world with so many different opportunities to be distracted. The embarrassment generally comes when a friend tells me about a book she has decided to read and I’ll buy it, read it, and then wait impatiently for them to finish so I can talk about it.

I don’t really come from a reading family. My mother read a lot. My father probably didn’t read more than a shop manual until he was in his thirties. Mom read a lot of John McDonald types of books. But my grandmother kept hundreds of books, with shelves filled two layers deep. Her daughter, my favorite aunt, was the first in our family to attend a university and also filled rooms with books.

I tend to be a compulsive reader. My favorite job for reading was at a state hospital in my 20s. I worked a swing shift from 3 in the afternoon until 11. At 9 in the evening the residents were put to bed. I could start in on the book I brought when things were cleaned and quiet.  I could take that home and keep reading until 3 or 4 in the morning, finish the book and sleep until noon, then start all over again.

More normal work schedules interfered with my reading. Then, about eight years ago, my wife of 20 years became critically ill. We were in a position where I could quit work to take care of her 24/7. In part to keep from going stir crazy I started reading heavily again and continued after her death at the end of 2015.

I try to read a variety of things. I have a preference for science fiction, mysteries, and history. To keep from becoming stagnant I try to mix things up. I’ve had a great time getting through classics that I passed over when I was younger, digging into new areas of interest.

Along the way I’ve had friends ask what I’m reading or ask for recommendations, which I would happily do except for a horrible memory for titles and authors.

So I talked about doing a blog like this to keep friends up with what’s sliding under my eyes and so that I can go back and refresh my own memory about what I’ve read.

I picked the name of the blog because I’m sometimes … no, frequently … irritated with things I read and while I’m reading I tend to have one-sided arguments with the authors about what they write, how they write, and the politics and perceptions they bring to their writing. And I’m stubborn enough to tough my way through books I don’t really enjoy, probably because I enjoy the arguments.

As I go, I’ll post links to Amazon if you decide you want to join me. The few pennies sent my way will help pay for this site and feed the monkey. I’ll also try to keep a list of things that have piled up waiting to be read.

You’re welcome to argue with me as long as you’re not too much of an ass about it and I’ll promise to be open in response to polite opinions.

Some basics

I tend to buy books because it supports authors. I used to buy science fiction paperbacks in grocery stores specifically to encourage the distributor to stock more. I love libraries, but even at the rate that I read it’s pretty confining for me to finish something on the library’s schedule. As it is I may dig around for something that caught my attention a year or more ago that I’m finally getting to. What for me has been a recent electronic revolution has been a Godsend because now instead of overloading my nightstand I can overload my Kindle. I haven’t had to move for years but to me it’s totally brilliant to have 500 books in an electronic reader rather than 70 boxes. (Yes, I have moved that and more.) I’ve also become quite an addict at Audible books, so there may be mentions of a particularly good or bad narrator in an Audible edition. Also, Audible now has items from The Great Courses. I may treat one of these as a book. Before going to Italy last summer I went through a couple of these on European history along with Tomasi’s The Leopard: A Novel and three volumes of Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant. (The Renaissance is almost entirely about Italy.)

I read books on religion occasionally. I am Roman Catholic by adoption but do like to read things about other religions. I don’t care if you’re religious or not. I trod toward the “one true church” for nearly 30 years before finally joining and I don’t plan to change. Anything I write about religion or politics is a reflection of my own interests and not an attempt to convert you. Oddly, a few science fiction books that I cherish helped push me in the RC direction after some flirtations with Buddhism and Taoism, not the least of which was A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter Miller, a book I reread every few years. Politically I’m what some would call a liberal though I get irritated with my side nearly as often as I do with the right. None-the-less, I doubt you’ll see books by Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly making my reading list any time soon.

Poetry: You should read more poetry. Non-fiction introduces you to new ideas, novels introduce you to varieties of human existence, but poetry alters your perception of your own language and expands the soul.

Links on titles will generally take you to  Amazon. If this thing gets enough readers with a Barnes and Noble fetish I’ll be happy to adjust.

Talk to me if so moved. I’m cranky and introverted, but I do like mail.