By my bedside, balanced in precarious stacks and columns, about 40 books represent a rough count of ones I've read, am waiting to read, want to re-read, plus ones I started and put down, but which one day may lure me to their pages anew.
If your bedside looks anything like mine, then you'll probably derive comfort, as I did, from "Why I Can't Stop Reading Books," an essay by Joe Queenan published in today's New York Times Book Review.
In a piece brimming with nostalgia about the role of the Bookmobile, along with beckoning descriptions of bibliographic rabbit holes, it's Queenan's counter-intuitive explanation of his consumption method that most heartened me.
"Friends say that I suffer from a short attention span, but exactly the opposite is true. I do not stop reading books because I lose interest in them; if anything, I have too long an attention span, one that allows me to read dozens of books simultaneously without losing interest in any of them."
Queenan's eclectic reading list is another treat. It also raises a question, one that brings to mind the barbarians of the ubiquituous and, to some, wrongheaded Capital One ads:
"What's by your bedside?"
(1953 Bookmobile images: Harrison County, Miss. Library)