I was tinkering with my blog setup, and it occurred to me that my “current reading” section was inadequate. After all, how long could it take to read a tome on English history or a book of poetry? (In the latter case, quite a while. It’s a big book.) I realized that I was approaching some of those books differently than the others that I list there. Thus I arrived at my current metaphor: reading as a journey.
I like the idea of “companion books”. These are books that have a long-term place on the table beside my chair or on my desk, books into which I dip frequently and over a long period of time, be it a page or two or a chapter or two or a poem or two. These are different from what I now call “waypost books”, which are the books to which I actively devote more time at once — but are left behind when they are done. The waypost books yield an experience that is very different from that afforded by the companion books. All books need not be read in the same manner. A book may start out as a waypost book, but may reach the level of companion book; likewise, a companion book may become a waypost book if the journey leads in such a direction. Neither change is good nor bad; they are necessary events in the evolution of a reader and his/her relationship to the books.