Sunday, January 11, 2004

Living life by the book: I haven't been reading many comics lately. Before yesterday, when I received Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom #1 -- thanks, Ron -- it had been more than a month since I'd last bought one. It's not an earth-shaking declaration; I'm not announcing that I'm "through" with comics. I just haven't been reading them lately.

For better or worse, what I have been reading is books -- honest-to-goodness, tiny-type-on-paper books. Again, that's no great revelation. I'm somewhat fantatical when it comes to research and reference materials. My poor bookcases groan and creak with the weight of texts devoted to ancient Mediterranean civilizations, life in Regency and Victorian England, modern police procedures, world religions and mythologies, European folklore, the Middle Ages, and the history of witchcraft and magic.

But recently, I've begun reading prose fiction again. I'm not certain when or why I stopped, but I did. If there was a conscious reason, it most likely had something to do with a fear that other writers' ideas might infiltrate my comics scripts or derail my plotting plans.

It's a legitimate concern, I suppose, but it's one that's been overridden by my obsessive desire to hoard books, and my apparent inability to say no to mail-order book clubs.

Book of the Month Club. Science Fiction Book Club. History Book Club. Quality Paperback Book Club. Yes, I belong to them all. They pass me around, and have their way with me. I feel guilty, and maybe a little dirty, but deep down I enjoy it.

I'm finishing Anthony O'Neill's The Lamplighter, and eyeing Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, which tempts me from the corner of my desk. Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City is en route. I won't even mention all the nonfiction books I've ordered; it's frightening.

So, I don't really need many comics right now. I do, however, need another bookcase.