I saw the film Short Circuit during its initial cinema release; I now find I can identify with its primary character, the escaped military robot Number Five.
Brought to life by (from memory) a lightning strike, Number Five had an insatiable appetite for “input”, devouring information from whatever source he could, especially books: speed reading volume after volume, demanding more as each completed book was cast aside. “More input. More input”.
I also have a very strong desire for knowledge, but sadly I’m not blessed with robotic speed and my progress through a book is far slower.
There are many topics that draw my interest, and I’m usually not happy merely skimming the surface of a subject. I usually want to find out as much as I can from a variety of viewpoints.
An example of that can be found in a lot of my reading material during the last year, where I wanted to find out why Anzac Day and Gallipoli were thought to be so important to the Australian identity. One book about the WWI Gallipoli campaign led to another, and another, and then even more.
But I didn’t stop there. What I read piqued my interest in the greater conflict of the First World War and I broadened my reading to include other campaigns. I still have several more WWI books that I haven’t had the chance to read.
In particular I’ve been interested in the role of non-combatant participants in the war, and I collected several books about nurses, stretcher bearers and chaplains. Most of them still sit on my “to be read” list – as well as others extending to subsequent conflicts: WW2, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
But my interests don’t stop there. I still have a lot of books about art and artists to get through (pushed aside for the time being by the Anzacs), and there are several books still to be read about Ben Hall, an Australian bushranger with significance to my local area.
There are books about the Holocaust, including three or four by Sir Martin Gilbert and a few related to Ann Frank; books about Christianity, religious history, British history, local history, books about space and the history of space exploration.
There are biographies of people from various backgrounds with differing reasons for having a biography written about them: authors, artists, national and international heroes (and the occasional anti-hero or villain).
All of those are only the non-fiction books – I have just as many fiction books stacked on bookshelves and stored in cupboards.
Fiction ranging from classics, to the “literary” on to popular, young adult, children’s; some award winning, some verging on the trashy, ranging in genre from SF and fantasy to spy novels, historical, a little crime; some that seem genre-less, dealing with everyday people with everyday lives but living in complicated relationships…
So many books, so little time and much of that filled with the “necessities” of life: working, eating, sleeping, bathing, travelling to and from here and there, shopping, gardening, bible reading, painting, blogging, visiting family, watching the news or favourite TV shows and occasional movies, listening to the radio (usually in the car when driving)…
How do I find the time to read everything I’d like to read?