Okay, fine, I have a problem

When it comes to reading, I promise you I’m the strangest reader you’ll ever meet.

For starters, I’m a slow reader. Very slow. A page per minute is speed reading to me. I can’t even read a page per minute on an e-reader, and on e-readers two or three pages equals one printed page. Now, you might not think being a slow reader is strange, and you’d be right…until I tell you that last year I finished a book (Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier) that took me sixteen years to read. You heard that right. And it wasn’t the first time a book took me years to finish. I call these long reads my “Fallbacks.” I have about six going at all times. I turn to my Fallbacks when I can’t find another book to read. I’m pretty tough on books, and I absolutely won’t finish a book I don’t like. My Fallbacks don’t interest me enough to read straight through, but interest me just enough to keep them in the wings for when I can’t find something better.

If my Fallbacks could talk, they’d tell you I’m the reader version of a crappy boyfriend, and they’d be right.

On top of the Fallbacks, I always have a book on an e-reader going for reading before bed (because it lights up), an audiobook going in my car, and a print book for reading around the house. I was recently gifted an iPhone 6 and love it, so, me being weird me, I incorporated that into my daily reading agenda, and keep a non-fiction audiobook loaded in my music library for my nightly walks.

It gets stranger.

I’m stingy when it comes to book lending. By stingy, I mean I’m incredibly selfish and won’t let someone borrow a book. Ever. Why? Because lending books to anyone is like lending money to that family member who always swears he/she will pay you back but never does. I lost Richard Matheson and Stephen King galleys that way ten years ago, and I’m still irked.

I get even stranger.

Book recommendations. I hate them. I seriously hate when people recommend a book for me because 99.9% of the time the person is not recommending the book to you because he/she thinks YOU will like it. He/She recommends it because HE/SHE liked it. And this is an instance where I definitely practice what I preach. In twenty years, I’ve only recommended two books to people. And one recommendation was only because the main character was so similar to the person I recommended the book to it was uncanny. Very uncanny. (See editor’s note.)

This is how serious I take book recommendations. I’ve been considering recommending a book to Sun Day Assistant Editor Kelsey O’Kelley for three weeks without committing to the actual recommendation because I can’t tell if it’s a good fit or not. I think it is, but I think it might not be. There’s too much evidence from what I know about the book and what I know about Kelsey to go both ways!

It gets stranger still.

I’m also very particular in the way, the exact manner, I read print books. I keep the covers open at 90-degree angles and twist my wrist left, right when reading facing pages because I refuse to break a book’s spine. I even do this with library books, whose spines are as loose as spiral-bound notebooks.

And stranger still.

I have a few hundred books on my shelves at home…but I’ve only read about a dozen of them. Of the actual copies on my shelves, I mean. I’ve read most titles just checked out from the library because I won’t buy a book unless I already read and enjoyed it. Books are expensive! And this practice isn’t so strange, if you think about. Raise your hand if you ever heard a song on the radio then bought the album.

Even this Happy Trails has taken me a long time to commit to write. It spawned from a conversation I had last summer.

(Editor’s Note: The book was The Martian by Andy Weir. The person I recommended it to is my longtime friend and Sun Day Web Manager Billy O’Keefe. Billy has been a part of the Sun Day since its beginning but always behind the scenes. For those of you who’ve ever caught his name in the paper the few times it was listed and wondered about him, read The Martian [is that a book recommendation I just made?!]. Mark Watney IS Billy O’Keefe.)

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