Friday, November 17, 2006

Everything is serial

I'm a serial reader, and that's nothing new. It's enough to read the list of books I've been reading in the last months to notice that while the number of titles is not so little (considering that the average italian reads less than a book every year), the one of the authors is barely above the half dozen. The fact is, I get involved in intricate stories and, as the main character of the Neverending Story, I feel a real discomfort, if not an all out pain, when I have to say goodbye to the characters I grew fond of (or even learned to hate).

That's made even worse by the fact that, sometimes, I just pick a random book at the bookstore and, if I like it, I feel compelled to learn more from the same author to see if it was just casual good book or if indeed the author is worth my time and my money, both resources available in very little quantity (especially the second).

Then I've my periodic readings. For instance, every single summer I must read at least a couple of books by Stephen King, or it's not summer. This year, in fact, I postponed and postponed, but eventually fell into the pattern, bought a couple and there I was. The problem is that I read faster than King writes, and considering the author we are talking about, that is something. It' snot that I particularly like horror books, or King's style, but in this case I fall in the sleepers' syndrome: it's good to get back to something comfortable, nothing that will really test your brain and that you can, within limit, predict.

Yet, I'm the worst case of serial reader as I'm a serial buyer as well. I can indeed get in a bookstore and get out without having bought anything, but if I buy, it's always at least 3 books, like today. Three books means that the chances of finding another vein to exploit are three times more than if I bought only one book. To make it worse, my bookstore has this rebate policy based on points, and you get a point every 2 euros so it always happen I have to find another book that makes my purchase even. Smart on their side and I'm the perfect victim. So, this time I got a book by Ken Follet (the second in a week), one of Stephen King (was in offer at 1/4 of the price) and, to make 9.30 and even 12 (.25, but perfection isn't of this world) I got a random book basing my choice on the cover and the price. Last time I did that, I discovered Jack Whyte and ended up buying the whole "Camulod's Chronicles"' books, almost a dozen of them so... god help me.

And then there are serial killers. No, I'm not one, but I'm potentially a victim. It turned out, every day in Rome one person dies in traffic incidents. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if at least half of them were scooter or motorbike drivers. Mostly due of bad roads (our mayor prefers to invest several hundred of millions of euros in celebrations, festivals and other fun stuff rather than road maintenance) and reckless drive by auto drivers. 1.200 a year. Statistics say that Rome is 10 times more dangerous than Paris and 5 times more dangerous than Berlin.

What can I say, thrill is my life.

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