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The Year of Reading Frequently

Once upon a time, I liked to read.

So, I’m sure, did you. In fact, you probably still like to read. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be casting a curious eye at a blog called 52 Books 52. You’d probably be off somewhere watching television or playing video games. (Not that I’m knocking television and video games. I’ve been a video game fanatic for many years and have even written books on the subject. And I’m addicted to TV shows like Lost and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But we’ll talk about that some other time, okay?)

When I say that I once liked to read, I mean that I liked to read books. I enjoyed lying back on a well-made bed, my head propped against one of those pillows shaped like a tiny armchair, and spending several hours a day reading novels. Or collections of short stories. Or carefully researched tomes filled with nourishing nonfiction goodness. I would do this every chance I got and for a while, back in those carefree days when I was young and had lots of time on my hands, I could read several hundred books in the course of a year.

I never do that anymore. Whole years can pass without my getting a single book read. Oh, I read lots of Web sites and the occasional magazine article. I sometimes take books out of the library, read a couple of chapters, and take them back just in time to avoid overdue fines. I read the New York Times while I eat breakfast. But I never read whole books any more. I don’t know if this is because my ADD has grown worse as I’ve gotten older or if the world just contains more distractions than it used to. Maybe it’s those damned video games.

I’ve decided to change this. At the beginning of 2010, I made a resolution to read at least a book a week for the entire year. Some of these books may take two or three weeks to read; some may take only a day. But by the time the year is over, if all goes according to plan, I will have read at least 52 books. And to keep myself honest, I’m going to write a blog about it, describing my thoughts on each book to you, the reader. That way, should I allow my resolution to slide, I’ll embarrass myself in front of my friends and the world. I’m expecting you guys to keep me honest.

I’m writing this at the beginning of March 2010. I’ve already read 11 of the planned books and am happily tucked into book number 12. I’ll be writing about those books shortly. I no longer read in bed using a pillow as my armchair. Now I sit in my home office reading e-books off the screen of my computer or I slouch on the living room sofa reading books on my iPhone. Every now and then I even settle down in an armchair with a bright lamp next to it and read an actual physical book, printed on paper with real ink. It’s a wonderfully nostalgic experience.

I hope you’ll join me in the remaining installments of this blog. There should be at least 52 of them. And — who knows? — maybe I’ll extend my resolution into 2011 as well. The video games can wait.

About Christopher Lampton

Chris Lampton, a cofounder of the e-book design firm Illuminated Pages (see link in my Blogroll), is a writer, an editor, an occasional computer programmer, a voracious reader, and a fanatic video game player. In the course of his distinguished if haphazard career he has written more than 90 books, including the 1993 computer book bestseller Flights of Fantasy (Waite Group Press). He lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Amy and our cat Lola, and now spends much of his available time editing and rewriting novels for self-published authors.

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