2010 Reading (or not)

Seems like this is the time people are posting their reading accomplishments for 2010–lists of books or at least counts of books read.

Which seems like a good idea.

But I don’t have one, because that’s one of many areas of my life that just aren’t that organized. I have a teeny-tiny Books database, but it’s just for authors and series that I either want to follow but not check out more than once, or maybe want to avoid having read one of them.

Maybe that would be a 2011 Resolution, if I was given to Resolutions: Keep track of the books I’ve read.

My guess is that I read roughly 50-52 books last year, but it could have been slightly lower than that. The basis for the guess:

  • Livermore Public’s borrowing period is four weeks. I get three books at a time, so my goal for the year was, presumably, to read at least 39 books (13 four-week periods, three books each).
  • I’ve almost always gone back after three weeks, not four, but “almost” may mean that I’ve only taken out, say, 16×3 books, not 17×3. I did renew one book during the year, but made up for that.
  • I gave up on one book partway through. But I also read two books (other than my own) that didn’t come from the library.

Book equivalents? No idea. I currently take something like 22 magazines (18 subscriptions, four as a result of memberships), and that includes all three of the “major” science fiction magazines, two issues of which are at least the equivalent of a book–so those three alone account for 18 book-equivalents (actually, there are only 26 issues, but 10 of those are double issues, each of which has a book’s worth of content). The others aren’t quite as text-heavy.

Hmm. Worth keeping track of reading? Maybe. Maybe not: Laziness calls. Oh, if you care about the fiction/nonfiction breakdown, that’s easy: One-third nonfiction, one-third “genre fiction” (split between mysteries and SF), one-third “mainstream” fiction.

Incidentally, for anybody so bored that they’re still reading, the one time I gave up on a book (The Black Swan), it was because I found the author insufferable. Right now, I’m reading a nonfiction book where I disagree with the author on many counts and think he’s foolish on some–but he’s also engaging and writes reasonably well, so this one I’ll finish.

Enough idle posting. Back to reading other people’s online content…and working on The Next Big Essay.

3 Responses to “2010 Reading (or not)”

  1. Angel Says:

    I would be curious to see what you read for the year, at least in the nonfiction and the sf parts.

    Wow, 18 mags. subscriptions. That seems like a lot to me, but I do like you include the science fiction ones (what is left these days? Asimov’s. SF&F, I know. What else? Again, curious).

    And speaking of lists, I should have mine out soon. This year I decided to count how many books I borrowed (public lib, my workplace, where I try to read some of the books I select when I can select, and via ILL). I think that is one thing I would be curious as well: are people borrowing books more? Or less? I know some of the people posting their lists mentioning they are reading more on e-readers.

    Hope your year is getting to a good start. As always,

    Best, and keep on blogging.

  2. walt Says:

    Angel: Unfortunately, I have no record… Mysteries include some lightweight but fun page-turners (the “Burglar Who…” series by Lawrence Block); SF includes, well, some fantasy (several of Pratchett’s Discworld books, but I’m caught up other than the 8 trade paperbacks I own and haven’t yet read, #s 21-28 in the series).

    18 subscriptions is fewer than I have had at times, particularly in terms of amount of text and number of issues. That includes five travel-related, three stereo & home theater-related, two business-related (paid for with miles) and one PC-related (down from five at one point).

    The other SF magazine? I’m shocked: The oldest of them all: Analog. (I think it still has the highest circulation also, although Asimov’s–same publisher–might be higher. Unfortunately, “highest” these days is still pathetic, under 20,000, I think.)

    How many of the books I read did I borrow? At least 90% of them, probably higher than that.

  3. Angel Says:

    Dang, I can’t believe I forgot about good ole Analog, which somewhat ironically we used to get at the library I used to work at. You’d think I’d remember. These days I get a lot of scifi short fiction on anthologies; I tend to get Hartwell and Cramer Year’s Best every year to keep up, which the better half usually reads first since she really loves short fiction sf (not to mention reads a lot faster than I do).

    Best, and keep on blogging.


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