Last week Wendy linked to Time's All-time 100 Novels, listing the eight she had read. Darrell joined his wife a few days later in listing what he'd read from the list.
I was a much more avid reader when I was a kid, and looked forward to Friday afternoons excitedly. Since I didn't have school the next day, my mom would treat me and take me to the library, where I could take out any books I wanted. I often took out the same ones and read them over and over, but I was reading real books. By high school, when I had my own money, or at least learned to save some of my lunch allowance, my mom lost her battle against comic books and I began reading 15-20 of those each weekend instead. There were a few Christmas' on which my parents treated me to a roll of comics, an assortment that gave me enough of a taste to want more. Soon, I indulged in an eight year addiction that only ended after college when I realized most of the stories I was reading had come full circle and ideas were being recycled, and I wanted to spend the money on my girlfriend instead. I started reading real books for pleasure again, and not just for class assignments. With a master's degree in english, my girlfriend always seemed well above me intellectually, one of many reasons I didn't understand what she was doing with me. She was a good influence while we were together, and it was great to discover I could still devour novels.
It was during my first year at my current job that my pal Rey introduced me to several science fiction and fantasy series. I read every Wheel of Time book available at the time, as well as the first four books in the Dark Tower series. The Night's Dawn Trilogy proved to be an exciting and epic endeavor, and I couldn't turn those pages fast enough. I believe this was also the year I read the phenomenal Ender's Game and subsequent sequels, and not long after I finally read all of Frank Herbert's Dune books.
This momentum couldn't last forever. 20 books a year became 12 a year, 12 became 6, and now I'm lucky if I finish two. Various distractions, from work to side jobs keep my occupied, as does my ongoing quest to see every DVD available through Netflix. It's also my speed and retention that have suffered with age. I find myself reading 15 pages and then realizing my mind had wandered, and I wasn't paying attention to a word I'd read. I still have three books to finish in the Dark Tower series, and really should pick those up again. In the last few years, the only authors whose works I read cover to cover were J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin.
Here's what I've read from the top 100:
George Orwell's Animal Farm
J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
William Golding's Lord of the Flies
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen(I guess some comics DO count as reading, after all)
Just to put things in perspective, as of this writing I've now seen 39 of AFI's Top 100 Movies. I should read more than I do, but then when would I have time for the internet?