Life columnist

Linda Braden Albert worked as a feature writer and editor at The Daily Times. She is now the editor of Horizon Magazine and a columnist.

I had gotten behind on my reading last year and I promised myself that was changing at the first of 2021. Could we say I was turning a new page?

So far, so good, as my growing list marked “Read” is showing. To spur me along, I found inspirational quotes and illustrations to make it more fun. Images of old typewriters and shelved books are co-existing along with the quotes, which have encouraged me to write more as well as read more. Some of my favorite quotes:

“A word after a word after a word is power.” Margaret Atwood.

“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” Neil Gaiman.

“If you stop to think about it, you’ll have to admit that all the stories in the world consist essentially of 26 letters. The letters are always the same, only the arrangement varies. From letters words are formed, from words sentences, from sentences chapters, and from chapters stories.” Michael Ende.

Is that not amazing?

“Think of this—that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone together.” A.S. Byatt.

I have been averaging three books a month since Jan. 1. If the book really holds my attention, I will devour it in one sitting just as my mother used to do. If it doesn’t, well, I force myself to finish it over several days to give it all the chances possible to pique my interest before I donate it to someone else who might enjoy it much more than I did. It’s like eating a food you don’t like so you can get to dessert. Sometimes I’ll sneak another book into the midst of the unpalatable one, as I did with one last month. The book was well-written, but it had no value to me whatsoever. In fact, I was so irritated by it that instead of putting it in the donate box, I began tearing out pages and using it as a prototype for my first altered book junk journal.

Perhaps I should just quit reading any others that annoy me so much …

I’ve also decided to branch out into genres I don’t usually read, vampires and zombies, for example. I do have several of those lying around, review copies sent unsolicited by authors and marketers hoping for a mention in the paper. One of these was really good but it gave me nightmares for almost a week. It is now in the donate box.

Another genre I’ve not read often is the YA, or young adult. I found an author who writes in this style that I really like and have devoured two of her books this year. One of them is about a zombie apocalypse and I cringed when I started reading it, but I did enjoy it. It’s fantastical enough that my brain recognizes it as fiction, I guess, rather than tormenting me with too-real scenes during the night.

A quote by C.S. Lewis inspired me to read some old favorites again, too: “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” Many of those old friends on my shelf were my mother’s, and I can always visualize her with them in her hands, totally absorbed and oblivious to nothing but the world she was immersed in at the time.

There are so many great books already on my shelves, both read and unread, that I won’t have to buy any for a long time. Won’t have to … but probably will. I suppose you could say I am a bibliomaniac, defined as one with a passionate enthusiasm for collecting and possessing books. The difference is that I intend to read them, not just possess them. Perhaps a better word would be bibliophilitis? I don’t know if this is a real word, but it should be, meaning one who has been infected with a passionate enthusiasm for reading.

So many books, so little time. What a wonderful predicament to have.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at

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