Thanksreading 2020: Postscript In Praise of Piles

Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year. 

Turkeys were carved. Pies were sliced. Leftovers were crammed into the refrigerator. And now America fights two plagues at once: COVID-19 and the inescapable sound of Christmas music everywhere.



That said, why am I still working on a Thanksreading piece? That’s easy. I didn’t do one yesterday like I’d originally planned. My mood was all over the place yesterday, and I decided just to focus on calling my parents and my sons and cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my wife, daughter, and me. 

So now I’m finishing things up.

This year’s Thanksreading has gone to places I wasn’t expecting, and I kinda like that. It’s been more experiential than in years past, when I’d really gone deeper into specific books and authors and their impact on me. Feedback on this year’s Thanksreading has been super-positive, as well, which is always nice to see, especially when trying something different.

I’m going to wrap things up today with an expression of gratitude for the reading pile.

They sit on the bedside table, on the floor, or at the edge of a bookshelf. Could be one neatly piled stack of three or four books, an unsteady tower of a dozen or so tomes, or multiple stacks of various sizes. And they might be carefully curated, or they could be together by pure happenstance.

Reading piles are lovely things. 

I usually have two or three different reading piles. One is a pile of recent purchases, another is a stack of stuff I’m currently reading, and another is a messy assemblage of comic books, magazines, and notebooks. Sadly, I haven’t had much call for the first sort of pile during the past few months.

Depending on how much time I’m dedicating to reading and the direction my interests flow in, new books most likely end up filed away on my book shelves after a few weeks. And if I’m not feeling particularly tidy, books that get read might pile up in a separate stack, as well.

I’m at a rare point in my reading life right now. I’m between books. Everything I’d been reading is finished, and I haven’t taken on anything new just yet. That’s about to change, though.

I have a plan, and soon there will be four books stacked up for me to tear through. The first is a manuscript a friend of mine just completed. I’m doing a beta read on it for her, which is its own sort of exciting reading experience. Then there’s Take It On Faith, a new, self-published novel by local author Bradley A.F. Finally, on its way to me right now courtesy of the USPS is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Legends: Soul’s Winter. I bought this online from Atomic Empire, a comic shop in Durham, N.C., last night, and it’ll be here in the next few days. Finally, I got my hands on A History of Franklin: 1789-1989. This history of my town has been out of print for quite a while, and I’m psyched to have a copy.

It’s a nice, manageable reading pile, the first one in a while that’s started from scratch. A new reading pile is kind of like a fresh sourdough starter. With time, it grows, gets larger and smaller, and develops a rich, complex nature. 

And with that simile, Thanksreading 2020 comes to an end. Thanks for reading. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you have in your reading pile these days. Thanks!

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