My friend Pam Varley and I were emailing this morning about our current audiobook listening, and sharing our common guilt at keeping, on Audible.com, a "wish list" of books that we plan to listen to that is composed of titles rather more challenging than the books we actually end up purchasing. On my end, the new Peter Carey novel still waits hopefully on the wish list while I merrily download yet another Donna Leon mystery. As Pam wrote, "there's probably a thesis somewhere in a comparison of Audible 'wish' lists and 'buy' lists."
I tell myself, and frequently other people, that guilt has no place in reading choices. But maybe it is part of the pleasure: reading as playing hooky? having an illicit affair? Similarly, virtue should have no greater a place in reading, either, but there's something to be said for the results of dogged determination, or going to church even though you don't feel like it, or even simply bragging rights.
Books I loved reading and books I'm glad I read. Two lists I can live with.