Looking over the past few months of my book blog, I'm a bit disturbed about the paucity of finished books. I blame the presidential campaign in part because I spent a lot of time watching cable television coverage for background for my twice weekly MarketWatch column and this cut into my prime reading time in the early evening.
I'd like once again to envisage reading at least a book a week, as I did after discovering the blog from Nina Sakovitch and her project to read a book a day. This doesn't mean I won't continue to read a number of books at the same time -- one or two in print, maybe an e-book and an audiobook. But I would like for books finished and reviewed here to average four or five a month -- one a week.
I consider film and television to be viable alternatives to the benefits we derive from good books -- entertainment, information, a feeling for real-life issues, a widening of horizons, and, often, emotional catharsis. But too much of the time I spend in front of the TV is wasted on vacuous programming. Yes, we are all entitled to down time -- wasted time -- but I think I overindulge.
Some of the books I read may be as empty as these TV shows, but generally they have some redeeming quality in a sense of place, a sly humor, a quality of writing that is entertaining and, for me as a writer, instructive. Most of the books I read offer the benefits listed above in far greater measure than all but the very best on TV, so I think my time is better spent with them.