I opened my home e-mail the other day and had a notice from the library that a book I'd put on hold was now available. It took me a couple days to get by the branch that had the book on hold, but I finally got by and picked up my copy of Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back, by Jane Holtz Kay.
When I got the book back home I put it in the stack that is on my nightstand. That stack got me to thinking ... why do I have so many books in the stack at the moment? I've come to the conclusion that I may have Sudden, Adult On-Set ADD. I have no idea if this condition even exists, but when I consider the change in my reading and TV and movie viewing habits over the last few years, it is the only explanation I can come up with.
[Ooh, hold on, let me Google Adult on-set ADD. I see others have come up with a similar question but I can't find a real case. Should I try WebMD? See, there I go again. Focus, Warren, focus.]
In looking at the data from 1995 on, I can see that during the years I traveled for work a bit I was reading an average of 1.5 books read per month. The years I didn't travel my average would drop down to just less than one per month. Conclusion: when you're sitting in airport terminals, you have more time to read than you do when you're at home with all the school activities, etc. I didn't travel much in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and I can't blame the drop in books read entirely on playing Mr. Mom -- TV comes into play here (but that will be dealt with in Part 2).
In 2005 I started traveling again; a lot. I also read a lot. The big change comes in 2006 and this is where the Adult on-set ADD thing may have started coming into play. I'll start a book and will quickly loose interest. This year I've only finished two books and still have the following waiting to be finished:
How I Found Livingstone, by Sir Henry M. Stanley
A Fine and Pleasant Misery, by Patrick McManus
The Story of Baden-Powell, by Harold Begbie
The Art of Urban Cycling, by Robert Hurst
Count Zero, by William Gibson
The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great, by Steven Pressfield
The High and the Mighty, by Ernest Kellogg Gann
What is to blame? TV? RSS feeds? Blogging? I'll have to think about it.
In the mean time, the notice from the library spurred me into focusing on The High and the Mighty, which may be the best book I've read in years. Ernest Gann was THE prolific novelist of the time in the late 40's, the 50's and 60's. His were the books that were being made into movies featuring the big stars of the day. There is a reason he was so successful, he was GOOD.
At this moment I have 30 pages to go. I'm going to sit down and finish because the movie, with John Wayne, is on this afternoon. I'll tape it and may watch it tonight; although I'll probably get half way into it and get distracted by something else ... but TV and movies will be part 2 of this saga.