07 September 2014

My slow reading year?

 

About ten years ago there was a book published in which the author decided to read 52 books in one year. I remember at the time thinking "That's nothing, I read more than 52 books in a year." Then I went to my 'books read' list and realized that the most I had ever read in one year was 37. So beginning in 2004, I decided I would shoot for reading at least 52 books a year. It wasn't too difficult to achieve that year and to continue to achieve over the years.

Just as my perception in 2004 that I read way more than 52 books a year was grossly incorrect, my current perception that I am one of those people who reads at least 100 books a year is somewhat faulty as well. I just crunched the numbers and it turns out that I have only broken 100 books for the year twice. Once in 2009 and again last year in 2013.

I guess I think a lot of myself.

When I first started this post this morning I was intent on writing about how it had been a slow reading year for me having just finished my 51st book for the year. Shouldn't that milestone been passed sometime back in July? But after crunching the numbers and comparing to previous years, my total so far for 2014 really isn't too bad. Over 18 years I have broken 50 ten times. But in only five of those years have I broken 65--and I will easily get to 65 this year.

Here is what my reading totals look like since 1995, the first full year after I began keeping a reading log.

I have a new job now that will have me commuting again on Metro so my reading output is likely to improve as a result. I could drive to my new job, but who needs that hassle, especially when the alternative is to be reading?

So I guess 2014 won't end up being such a bad year after all.

8 comments:

  1. Always appreciate your self-checks. And supported by data too! The truth is though that you, and most reading here, no matter how "off" the reading year, read much more than the average person. Congrats on the job! Hope it is everything you want.

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    1. To those who manage a book a year, if that, I must seem like the biggest of losers.

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  2. I don't think you need excuses for the amount of books you read. Book blogging does seem to push you in reading and there are people that are reading more books than I think possible. As long as your happy with your reading and not pushing yourself too hard, I think we just need to enjoy the reading. You're doing well, over 50 books is impressive

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    1. The contest I did last year with Roz was the only time I felt like I was really pushing myself. I do think keeping track of progress is a good thing because it reminds me to prioritize my free time in a way that is conducive to reading (e.g., turning off the TV and computer).

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  3. I'm assumed by your lack of self-knowledge. And amused by 'in my 20s, social life' as a reason for not reading many books. Since I'm one of those, I guess I'm not the other....

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    1. It was my early 20s and I was living in DC for the first time and I was surrounded by so many fun people my age. What is interesting though is that most of my friends and I considered ourselves readers and we talked about books and recommended things, etc.

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  4. I used to keep a track of the books I’d read. The number 88 rings a bell. I believe this figure represents the total number of books I’d read since leaving school up until the age of approximately twenty-three, so six years. I’ve no idea what happened to that list but it vanished which bothers me because there were books on it that I no longer have copies of and the only two I can remember were Omnivore by Piers Anthony and Telempath by Spider Robinson. Odd that they’d both be science fiction and odder still that they weren’t by Asimov since the majority of science fiction I remember reading at that time was by him and I’ve never read anything by him since but I do have all the books still, tatty though they may be.

    I’m an erratic reader. At least I used to be. There will be entire years of my life during which I read no fiction whatsoever. And I feel very guilty about the time wasted especially now I’m at an age when when I project how many books I might conceivably get through before I die that number is not one I have difficulty imagining. I’ve never been one to read rubbish though. I may not have read a huge amount when I was young but there were a lot of good books in those 88; it wasn’t all science fiction: Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Orwell, Borges, Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn, Koestler, Bellow, Mann.

    This year I set myself a goal of 100 books. In recent years I would’ve said, off the top of my head, that I was getting through about fifty a year. This is what Goodreads says I’ve read (assuming I’ve faithfully entered everything): 2013 – 93, 2012 – 47, 2011 – 43, 2010 – 48, 2009 – 26. I have to say I was surprised at 2013’s total. Anyway I’m about to start my 100th book this afternoon so it’ll be interesting to see what the grand total is for 2014 when it’s done. What I have noted is the lack of women so I’ve made a point this year of reading an equal number of female authors to try to redress the balance.

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    1. I have had to stop myself from trying to recreate a list of books I read prior to 1995 and putting them in my spreadsheet. There are whole giant chunks of my reading life, therefore, that aren't included.

      I never feel the urge to consider how many books I will have time to read in my life. That makes it seem too much like a project. As someone who tends to care more about the destination and less about the journey, I think focusing on that would not be a good thing.

      Do you wonder what you did with all your time in 2009 when you only read 26?

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