Devilish December Book Angst.

I Didn't Make the List, Again. Bah Humbug!

Book angst

It’s the holiday season, the time when most peoples’ minds and tummies turn to shopping and food. Not me. Devilish December signals my full-blown seasonal book angst. You think I’m kidding? Read on.

The focal point of my angst? Publication of The New York Times and Washington Post’s  100 most notable books of the year followed shortly afterward by their anointing of the 10 best books.

Book Angst

Now, if you’re sane — and I hope you are — you probably think this is an odd thing to obsess about, but obsess I do.

In fact, I  worry about these “influencer” lists all year long. I “game” the lists with each purchase I make and you can imagine, this is a time-consuming, exhausting exercise.

You see I am what you might call a voracious reader. The way some people devour potato chips or candy, I devour books.

I buy and read so many books that while Handsome Hubby and I don’t fight about much, we do squabble about the need for more bookcases.

I say: “We really need more bookshelves.”

He says: You mean, you need/want more.”

I say: “Fine. Whatever. Where can we put them?”

He says: “Why don’t you get rid of a few of the books you’ve already read or maybe box some up and put them in the garage? Surely you don’t like them all.”

I say: “Sure. Fine. Whatever. Next, you’ll want me to get rid of one or both of the kids, arguing we don’t always like them either!”

To this, he just snorts, shrugs his shoulders, and walks away.

The man is so unreasonable!

Books, Men, and Children

You get my point, right? I mean, just like our children, sometimes a book disappoints, but just like our children, it has redeeming characteristics. A catchy turn of phrase. An endearing image that just won’t let go. Part with it? Oh, no. Never!

(And as for HH, he’d better watch out! His office is a primo place for additional bookcases. I’ve surreptitiously taken measurements and one day he might just come home from a business trip and find an entire wall lined with new bookshelves. I mean, bookshelves or his rarely-used treadmill, which would you choose?)

Anyway, I do admit that I’m a book hoarder. Also, a bit of a book snob. OK. I am an outright, full-fledged, snooty, boorish, bookish book snob. I pride myself on reading (for the most part) relatively highbrow, tony tomes.

Yet, somehow, bewilderingly, maddeningly, I rarely find my picks on the Times or WaPo’s best lists. How is this possible?

Year after year, I “fail” to select the winners. If I gambled, I would have lost all my money. The house. All the books too. If I bet my shirt, I’d now be standing out in the cold shivering … or sitting in jail arrested for indecent exposure!

Book Angst and Life

Now, you might think this is silly. I understand there are bigger injustices in the world. Bigger slights suffered too. (After all, I have two adult children who regularly arch their brows and say in that oh, so sneering way all parents recognize, “Mother, Father, please, really!”) Yet, the fact that I, a self-proclaimed culture queen, never makes the NY Times/WaPo best book list grade is a big deal.

Interestingly, I do not have this over-the-top reaction to the publications’ other year-end “best” lists on theater, television shows, film, or music. No. I view those as opportunities to grow and learn — except for theater where I can go toe-for-toe, show-for-show with the list compilers, having seen most of the productions they recognize and debate full-on if their choices are “correct.”

Anyway, that’s my silly season madness! Now, back to holiday sales shopping and cookie munching.

As for next year … Well, I resolve to revise my reading habits. In 2024, it’s all pulp fiction and romance novels for me! Those books NEVER land on the fancy schmacy “best” lists — only the bestselling lists and ladies’ nightstands EVERYWHERE! So, farewell, angst. Hello, sweet titillation and steamy delights!

Although …

Although as a quick aside, I do have another book rant!

It’s about the continuing trend to “style” bookshelves by replacing book covers with ones in a particular color (red, blue, pink, whatever) to match the design scheme of a person’s house … or to “style” shelves by “elegantly” arranging books this way and that, so you could place vases, candles, and chic what nots on shelves instead of cramming them from top to bottom with books — the actual purpose God and Gutenberg intended!

These so-called stylish “acts” are abominations against books and readers! Can I get an “amen,” book lovers?

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