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POWELL: Something about books you should ... um ... check out - Odessa American: Gene Powell

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POWELL: Something about books you should ... um ... check out

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Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:00 am

The word for the day is bibliophile. You’ll be at an advantage for the rest of this column if you know the word. And if you happen to be one, then you might well be in lock step with me.

David Lee, a former cohort here at the newspaper who now teaches at Bowie Junior High, and I have a habit of collecting books faster than we can read them. I assume it’s an affliction most bibliophiles battle from time to time.

When we wonder what we’re going to read next, it’s not because there’s a lack of options. In my case, the options are two deep in bookends on my chest of drawers, piled on top of those books standing between the bookends, in my bookcase, on my nightstand and jammed two or three deep in an entertainment center.

I am probably 100 books behind right now.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

It helps that I sometimes have more than one book going. I can switch between a collection of short stories, a novel, a biography, a collection of essays or a nonfiction work without much trouble.

It also helps that I read so many different types of works. Piling up 100 murder mysteries wouldn’t give me many real options whenever I do finish a book.

Then again, having too many options sort of freezes you as well. Does it happen to you? You close one book, look up and fret: “What now?” There’s been a time or two it took me longer to pick what to read next than it took me to read what I picked. (Yes, that sentence makes sense.)

David Lee is more organized than I am; he keeps his “stack” pretty much in order. New books go to the bottom, except for a handful of authors — say the duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child or Stephen King.

My options are split between my room and the living room. That sort of gives me a miniature adventure in picking out the next book to read. I get to dig behind stacks, reorder stacks, flip through a few books and then choose.

Sometimes I get stuck on an author. Robert Parker, Jeffrey Deaver, Patricia Cornwell, Brad Meltzer, David Baldacci or Elmore Leonard may get two or three books in my hands in a row.

David Lee doesn’t mind plowing through a series at once. I can’t do that. I bought all four Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz at once but have only read two of them to date.

I like to alternate between voices.

To get to the point of all this, I came here to remind you all about One Book One Odessa. Bibliophiles who have stepped into Hastings have seen the signs and probably asked the questions.

The gig is that Hastings book manager Randy Hamm has orchestrated a plot to get every person in town reading the same book during a period of several months. The book and author (who has been mentioned in this column) will be announced Jan. 15 at the program launch.

The county library (go visit!), the Ellen Noël Art Museum and the Midland-Odessa Symphony are going to help promote the event with public events.

That means we all have to save a place in our reading lists. Well, some of us do. I’ve already read it.

Odessa, TX

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