Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

Catching up on my reading… literally

April 18, 2008

Next Stop - Duct tape.

I like to read. I like to read a lot, in fact. But as someone who enjoys writing, this should come as no surprise. After all, a writer without works to inspire him is like an artist with no subject to paint. Once upon a time, my muse of choice was the humble paperback.

One summer, my mother handed me a ratty, practically spineless old copy of a book called Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. I was 12 at the time and the book boasted about 40 pages for every year I’d been alive. (That’s about 480 for the non-math-majors.) But once I started, I couldn’t stop, and one sleepless night later, I had consumed what remains, to this day, my favourite piece of fiction. (I still have the copy, actually, held precariously together with wads of scotch tape, as you can see in the picture above.)

During that summer, I proceeded to tear through the entire Archer collection until there was nothing left, and I still remember that strange combination of emotions- a sense of satisfaction at having consumed such a large body of fiction in so short a time, tempered by the muted disappointment at having run out of Archer books to read!

No new items?? (Google Reader)

Well, something similar happened to me yesterday (You were wondering when I was going to get to the point, right?) Of course, these days I read fewer novels than I would like to. (Read: None) With a few more commitments on my time than when I was 12, I find it difficult to find..ahem..make the time to read as much fiction as I used to. Instead, over the past couple years, I have turned my appetite to blogs. There are so many informative, well-written blogs out there, all presenting interesting writing in short, consumable entries– the blog format fits my busy lifestyle really well.

Whether I am on a lunch break, or relaxing at home, I fire up Google Reader and start popping through the entries from blogs all over the net one by one. GReader has a great mobile version of the site that works really well on my Blackberry Pearl, and I probably spend more time on that mobile client than I do on the regular computer version. Whether I am in line at the grocery store, driving on the highway stopped at a red light, or even curled up in bed, my Blackberry is never far from reach, and so it has become my defacto eReader of sorts. (Who needs the Kindle?)

I thought I was actually oversubscribed – I follow over 40 feeds from different blogs, many of which are big-money, prolific, multiple-post-per-day outfits. You can see some of my must-reads in the blogroll to the right under Blogs I Read Daily, or you can take a look at my constantly updated Google Shared Feeds here. In any case, as a result of having so many subscriptions, despite my insatiable appetite for the written word, I never seem to whittle away all the content that is thrown at me in a given day.

That is, until yesterday! As the photo above shows, I hit rock bottom.  I was flipping through my feeds and reading away when I noticed that the dates on the posts started creeping back to entries I had missed 2 and 3 months ago and then, all of a sudden – bam – the dreaded “No New Items” appeared! I guess I’ve been doing more reading than usual lately… Since the first event yesterday, I’ve run up against the No New Items wall a few times again, so I guess I’ve just used up my reservoir of old missed blog posts and apparently I’m reading faster than my favourite bloggers can write!

The good thing about this “problem”, of course, is that there is no shortage of written material on the web. When I ran out of Archer novels a decade ago, I couldn’t very well call him up and ask him to write another! (Although as luck would have it, I see that he has just released a new tome – his first piece of fiction, I believe, since his somehow-fitting-for-a-professional-storyteller stint in prison for perjury… )  The real issue when it comes to web-based content, however, is sifting through the mounds of garbage to find the true gems worth reading.

So, do any of you have some new can’t-miss blogs that I should be reading?  If so, let me know in the comments! Meanwhile, I’m going to head over to Chapters to see about that new Archer novel…

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