I love reading lists. I love finding out what a person is consuming as information or otherwise. I remember reading the reading lists of Hollywood actors and celebrities on Oprah.com and wondering which book to add to my list of 'To Read' books.
That said, Konkona Sen Sharma (@konkonas) reviews a lot of books on Twitter. I find some of those reviews and thoughts useful when I pick my books.
This article was featured in the Media Diet series in The AtlanticWire. Here, Margaret Atwood talks about reading and serendipity. Finding random reads and the joy one gets in realizing that they are valuable.
I'm a reading junkie, I guess. It's the fault of my upbringing. I was brought up in the north where there weren't any other forms of media--other than print. I certainly learned my first French off the backs of cereal boxes. This is Canada: "Eh! Les enfants! Special offer. Collect the box tops."
I think it's curiosity that drives me to read. I don't think "entertainment" quite covers it. It's not that I'm indiscriminate in my appreciation--I like to feel that I can tell an apple from a pear, and I don't expect from the pear what I might expect from the apple. In other words, if I'm reading Conan the Conqueror I'm not demanding that it be Middlemarch. They have different things to offer. But in some cases you get led to fine experiences through very devious pathways. Do you remember that spate of people parodying a movie called Downfall on YouTube? That led me to watch the original movie--actually quite an astounding movie. (The parodied scene is the one in which Hitler's losing it. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to who knows who, done with subtitles.)
Nobody ever gets quite the information they really want because often the information they really want is something they don't know they want. Or, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, it's a case of the "unknown unknowns"--the things you would have loved to have heard about, but you don't know what they are. There's a lot serendipity involved. Some of the books that have been quite valuable to me I've picked off second-hand sales shelves. I've just stumbled across them.