Sometimes I forget that I owned a bookstore. People came into Oz Books because they trusted our reading suggestions, our “homey knowledge,” as the Oz bookmark said. There was the parent who followed me around the store wanting to know if it was okay for his kid to read so much fantasy (booksellers are often seen as therapists).
“I’d like him to read more nonfiction. Don’t you think he should read books that he’ll learn something from?”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” I replied, quoting Albert Einstein, assuring the dad that innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs often read fantasy and science fiction as kids.
What did I read when I was young? The now boring “Happy Hollisters” series, that’s what I remember. I regret not tracking all the books I’ve read during my reading life, a gazillion words.
In today’s New York Times Book Review there’s a piece, “My Life With Bob” (Book of Books) by one of the editors who’s noted all the books she’s read since 1988. Wow.
A friend recently told me that my reading history, at least since I’ve been in Tucson, would be on the Pima Tucson Public Library’s website. I dashed to my computer but nope, no reading history. Damn. I hadn’t hit the request button that the library required. Ten years of book titles lost.
Knowing what books I’ve read, beyond looking at what’s in our bookcases, might have revealed something I didn’t know about myself. Wouldn’t it be fun to line up, at least virtually, hundreds, thousands of books in order of when I read them, a kind of self-therapy project? Tonight I turned on the library’s accounting of my reading history.