Thursday, June 10, 2010

OCD as applied to literature

My mother always says, "a little OCD is good." She would always *ALWAYS* wash her hand FIRST THING when she got home from work. Granted, where she worked was filthy. I always wash my hands first thing, too, even though my office is pretty clean. My hands just feel dirty when I get home. When my mother says a little OCD, she really just means "tidy" or "clean." Y'know, washing your hands before handling food (and after, too), putting your shoes away so you don't trip. Closing our sliding closet doors so the little finger grooves are on the outsides (and not in the middle). Yeah, that last one might be a little more compulsive than tidy.

Yup, we're mildly OCD/tidy/clean in my house. But sometimes it manifests itself in less useful ways. Example: recently I've become a bit obsessed with checking my reading list at the library. I don't know if everyone's library does this, but at mine, I can reserve up to 25 things at a time, and then "suspend" them until I'm actually ready to read them. So maybe you've found a new series that you love, but you obviously can't read all 14 books at once, so you put them on hold, suspend them, and then release them as you finish the one before it. Brilliant!

So I have this list of 25 books going on, while at the same time, I have a huge stack of books next to my bed. Four stacks, actually. Otherwise, it would be a tower that would probably fall over and concuss me as I slept. Remember how I resolved to lead a deliberate life this year? Well, I am deliberately, methodically, making my way through these books. Captain America may disagree. Mostly because these piles seem to be growing, not shrinking. Which actually must defy some law of gravity or shopping or something, as I don't actually buy books. The last books I bought were travel books back in January or February, before we went to Europe. And they're on the dining room table, not next to the bed. But all of these books all over the place make my side of the bed look very untidy.

Also, I have a written book list. As I read books on the library list, the books on the written list are added to the bottom of my library queue. See? I'm nearly crossing over that line from avid reader to literary nut-job! And my written book list is also growing, not only because people keep publishing new books, but because I'm a bit obsessive about my authors, too. If I read something I like by someone, I'm compelled to read everything they've written. Case in point: I really enjoy Ken Follett, so I made a list of everything he wrote that I hadn't read yet. And then I found out that before he became the successful Ken Follett, he wrote a bunch of gritty cultish crime fiction, under a pen name, that he even said were terrible and embarrassing and he's glad that they're no longer in print so no one can read them. And I felt, No! Not read something? And then I thought, Good God, Virginia! Even the author says they're terrible! Why waste your time on something the author doesn't even like?

And all of this nonsense is before I discuss my kindle situation. I have yet to figure out how to mark a book on my kindle as "read" without just deleting it, so I'm stuck with remembering. And no, I haven't even purchased any books for my kindle yet because at the Gutenberg project website, you can download no-longer-copyrighted books for free.

And all of this nonsense is in addition to my list on goodreads, which I've decided to only update as I read books, but still...

Yup. I am neurotic.

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