You don’t have to have known me long, or know me well, to realise that I love reading. It also doesn’t take long for the casual observer to spot that I’m a bit nerdy and I get obsessive about things. So it will come as no surprise to you that I have a notebook in which I’ve listed every book I’ve read since January 1993 – I don’t know why I started it then, or why I started it at all, but now I’ve been writing in it for 16 years I can’t seem to stop. You never know, it might be really interesting to a future historian (stranger things have happened. Probably).
It’s vaguely enlightening to me that in the year I decided academia was harmful to my health, I only read 17 books (about a dozen of them once I was languishing in unemployment), whereas in my first full calendar year at university I read 60 (maybe I should have been working instead. Or in the pub?). I can look back and say ‘I can’t believe I only got into Trollope in 2001’, or ‘Wow I had no idea I’d read that many fantasy novels’, and generally cause OneMonkey to raise an eyebrow in my direction. I can see the strange phases I went through: a run of 9 Alistair MacLean books in 1993 (Alistair MacLean? Really?), 12 Stephen King in 1994, 7 Raymond Chandler in 1997, 11 Robert Rankin in 1999 and a lot of mini-runs where I’ve obviously read an entire series one after the other. I can read the story of my life (at least since I was 14) in that notebook. And you thought I was just being sad.