"Do you read fiction?"

That's what a coworker asked me yesterday in the lunchroom. Apparently the correct answer is, "Not at work." Now that I think about it, I almost never read fiction, except on vacation. I read lots, but it's mostly professional or news; when time gets tight, it's the fiction that gets pushed aside.

I need to do something about that.


I have tried to learn how to say it without an air of superiority, because as a public librarian, it's not good to not read fiction. When I do read fiction it's usually young adult (or anything by Sherman Alexie or Nick Hornsby). It's sort of like how I feel about fish....I know it's good for you, and try it every once in awhile, but it just doesn't grab me. (Although I have learned that I like blackened tuna....maybe Hornsby and Alexie are my blackened tuna and YA fiction is like Mrs. Paul's fish sticks, which I will also eat). There's just so much tasty non-fiction out there that I don't have room on my plate for fiction. Sadly, our library is losing its best reader's advisor this week to retirement--he's the go-to guy for mystery and most other current fiction. It will be a big loss for our patrons.

I try to read fiction... I want to read more of it... I chronically have 2-3 fiction books checked out that never get read. Working in cataloging, it's hard to get the motivation up to open a book once I'm home. Frequently, it's a struggle to get any professional reading done so "fun" reading doesn't stand much of a chance. Hopefully, this weekend I'll be able to get some done... as I have 2 books checked out that I really want to read. I like to stay on top of what is coming out and all that but goodness it's hard.

When I was in grad school I'd devour 2-3 books a week (fiction and non-fic) but now I can barely read a newspaper. Ugh... it's sad. I love to read just don't have the energy for it...

I have read fiction almost exclusively my whole life. Most nonfiction books do not "grab" me at all, though that has begun to change a bit in the last few years.Now, of course, I'm back in school and my fiction reading is extremely restricted when a semester is in session. It's been a treat for me this semester, taking "YA Info Needs" and getting to OD on teen angst novels for class! (Though at this very moment I confess I may be close to reaching critical mass with Chris Crutcher as I prepare for my final project ... I look forward to gearing down to something a bit less overwrought in the next week or so.)

When I have the chance I'll read fiction, non-fiction, the phone book, dictionaries, whatever. Over Thanksgiving I read Dogs of Babel (finally!), a novel about a linguistics professor trying to teach his dog to talk, and the first half of Doing our own thing, a non-fiction work by John McWhorter about "the degradation of language and music." I want to read the Stephen King Dark Tower series over the holidays and also the new biography about Douglas Adams. I'm lucky to get a chance to read professional literature at work, and one of my many part-time jobs is proctoring tests so I get to read a lot there.

In my (special) library, there is no room at all for fiction reading. However, when I'm reading Library Journal or American Libraries, I will skim the fiction reviews in addition to the nonfiction we're encouraged to read reviews on.Off duty, I go through phases. Right now my wife and I were in a Tony Hillerman phase, drinking in every Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn Navajo Tribal Police novel we can get our hands on. Before that we were (and still are) voracious Mercedes Lackey readers.I can sometimes go for months only reading nonfiction -- science, politics, social history -- only if has good anecdotes, history of advertising, whatever.Now that I spend alternate Sundays working in a parish library, I read quite bit of spirtual reading, church history, CS Lewis, etc.Maybe some of you should consider books on tape. My wife and I have used that successfuly at home for several months now. A book plays in the background while we get minor chores done. Just a thought.

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