Sunday, November 23, 2008

Count on Me

I haven’t blogged about my reading obsession in at least three weeks so it seemed like as good a day as ever to ask a question that has bothered me for quite some time. How much is enough when it comes to reading?

In both 2006 and 2007, I read 59 books during each year. I know this because one of the boards I belong to has us record such things as part of an annual “Reading Contest.” I know from my fellow contestants on the Board that I read slightly more than the average person but a lot of people also forget to update their lists. The nicest thing about this contest is that it is an accurate accounting of my reading adventures – everything from the biographies and memoirs to trashy romances and historical fiction. My tastes, I have come to realize, are somewhat eclectic.

This year, I am on track to beat that number depending upon how the next month or so pans out. My Arabic studies have greatly cut into my reading time. (Blogging and watching TV all night have nothing to do with it!) No matter how many books I may have read in the past, or will end up reading this year it simply doesn’t feel like that much – I always think I should be reading more.

Hubby believes that my reading addiction borders on the edge of gluttony. I like to counter that reading keeps me sane and is therefore a good investment in both time and money. But maybe I do read – not too much since that isn’t possible. But maybe I read like a woman drowning, desperately gulping words to stay alive. Or maybe I just like reading and I should leave it at that!

Which brings us back to my initial question: So how much do you honestly read? And for the sake of curiosity, what do you read?


Anonymous said...

You can never ever read too much.. ever... (Just like I can never have too much chocolate or too many earrings...)

My web site has a list of recent reads, where you can see what I have been reading recently. Also a pace of recommended reads. Time is a problem for me - too much blogging, too much extra work etc.. - have cut swathes into my reading.

I've just started a book called: Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl - supposed to be one of those instant classics-cum-cult books... It's good so far.

Brenda said...

I should do a post on this as well. Thanks for the idea. I regularly and freely steal ideas from other peoples blogs ;)

I need to have a stash of books that matches my stash of chocolate. I start and end each day reading.

When I am tired, I will spend entire days reading. On vacation I can read 4 or 5 books. But 59 books last year, I think you beat me!

Corinne said...

I realized my reading had spun out of control when I donated over 100 books when I left Japan, went back to the States and donated about 25 more. Right now we're bookless (I don't consider 20 books a stash!) since I left the majority in CA, but my dear book friends will be joining me next year! It's all I can do not to run to the book store and stock up more!

G in Berlin said...

I read quite a bit. On the right of my blog is the list that I started in mid August of 2008. Right now it's 15 which is much smaller than the list I would have had before I started reading 100+ blogs a year. I also have a magazine reading list which is infringing on my reading: Newsweek, Businessweek, money, Forbes, Fortune, NYTimes, Washingtonpost,Publishers Weekly (to see what comes out in the new year)and two book clubs which, while they are improving the tone of my reading (Nemirovsky and Umrigar were recent) are decreasing the speed of my reading.
Nice to meet a fellow addict! Give me a few days (I still don't have a decent photo software with the new computer) and I'll do this same type of post. About a year ago I threw up a set of links baed on Lynda's "through my kitchen window" that was "what's on my bookshelf".

Christine Gram said...

I don't think you can do too much reading. Maybe if it starts cutting into responsibilities like parenting and earning money for your family. Basically, if you're kids are going hungry because you'd rather be reading, then that's probably too much.

But otherwise, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more enriching activity.

That said, my reading came to a complete halt when my punks entered the picture. Not until I started my 3 hour train commute 5 years later did I pick up reading again. What a welcome reunion.

I haven't kept track of how many books I read a year, but I'd guess it's pretty low, around 15? Unless you count children's books... then it's about 700. I'm not joking. But my personal reading picks up a little bit every year as the punks get more independent.

My recent reads have been:
The God of Small Things
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Glass Castle
Strange Pilgrim
A Man Without a Country
Invisible Cities
oh, and over the summer I read all of the Twilight books... but don't tell anyone

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's such a thing as "too much reading" :)
And the "it keeps me sane part" is oh so true.
For me it always depends on where I'm at and what I'm doing.
If I have a well working Internet line, it sure cuts into my reading.
If I'm also at the time more hooked into a game, same thing.
But it happens like while we were in Germany, that I read a book every two days, no matter how thick ;0
I try to take a pic of every book I read, post it on my blog with a small description (or take the link from amazon ;)
But sometimes I miss out. I think, I've missed to post a lot of them while in Kuwait and the time before.
Oh well.
If you care to check, you can click the search tab on my blog for either "books" or "books 2008" (I think).

I read mostly Novels, medieval or fantasy, some other stuff in between, but rarely.
And I mostly get them on flee markets or when they are on sale somewhere :)

Stephanie said...

I set a goal to read 52 books this year as a New Year's Resolution. I'm at about 44 now, as the whole quitting job, getting married, moving to sweden, first semester of grad school thing has sort of gotten in the way of my reading. Hopefully with the 9 books I have to read for this course and a three-week vacation in America I'll be able to reach the goal! I'm going to do a reading post too pretty soon. Thanks for the idea!

Sue said...

59 in a year isn't addiction. Nowhere near. I keep track of my reading too... I have an entire blog of my book reviews, now going back about nine years. (I also keep track on Bibliophil, and Goodreads, and AllConsuming, and Visual Bookshelf on Facebook... I think maybe I'm a bit addicted to keeping track of my reading!)

As for how many: 123 in 2006, 124 in 2007 and so far 117 in 2008. I'd like to make it to 125 but at this stage in the year think that's unlikely, unless I cheat and read a bunch of short children's books in December!

Hi! I'm Janola. said...

ummmm....gee....i was going to say that i love to read, but compared to you guys i'm illiterate! i am a teacher, so during the school year any book i read is for comfort and relaxation, so i'll read the same four books over and over: emma, pride and prejudice, sense and sensibility, ad persuasion.

during my travels this year i'm reading the guidebooks esp the blurbs on the country's history and culture. i've also "borrowed" books from a neighborhood coffeehouse. i don't want to buy any, cuz then i have to lug them around with me!

Anonymous said...

I read a LOT of murder mysteries but on holidays and while travelling I try to read something more intellectual. However, I think , along with my CSI etc. watching, I could solve some interesting murders!
When I was working, I didn't have much time to read books other than those associated with my job. Reading, along with knitting of course, has become a joy and the best way to spend quality time in our cold winters.
Do iBooks count? :)

Miss Kim said...

We are definitely soul sisters!!
I have/had a goal of 100 books for 2008 and am at 83 (today) so I will have to read a lot in December which doesn't seem very realistic does it? I keep a reading blog as well and that's been fun to do! I'm just getting ready to make an Amazon order....yummmmm yum.

Amanda said...

I noticed a couple of your TBR pile were the same as mine!

I have a reading addiction. The last couple of months reading has been slow going, I suspect because of my book choices. I usually read about a book a week, but on a week long vacation, maybe 5 or 6. I spent five days in Japan on my own and polished off three books and read the entire history/culture section of the Japan Lonely Planet.

As for what I read, most of it is fiction. Maybe 15-20% non-fiction. I have Twilight very much on my list! In fact, in addition to my one adult book per week, I generally read a kid's book too, since I'm a teacher and I like to be able to recommend books. I read mostly modern stuff and generally things that have won some sort of major literary prize.

Anonymous said...

I can be a total book whore. And then I can be a total reading slacker. Once I'm into a good book forgetaboutit. It's all I do, try everything to finish it. I was even covertly reading in my office last month - I can see people approaching my office so as soon as I saw a human figure I would throw the book under the desk. And have a guilty look on my face so they would say to me "what's wrong?" Being honest I would smile and say "umm...reading". I tried starting a book last night and threw it across the room in boredom. Usually I read 3 books a week when I don't have electricity. Here I have internet AND tv - oops. Some things go by the wayside. Umm, how much longer can this comment get. WHOOPS.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm on my third glass of Limoncello. It's my anti-insomnia remedy. Hence the long comment. Aren't you glad I posted a second one?

Anonymous said...

I need to stop drinking the Lemoncello. Sadly there's another bottle in the fridge. Hey - posted this earlier but 'twas lost due to bad internet connection - a good buddy of mine just got posted to Cairo (well - next summer) - we'll have to meet up for coffee/dinner/booze - I'll go visit him for sure!

Connie said...

I love to read and used to go through about 2-3 books a week. I enjoy hardcore sci-fi, some fantasy (if someone else who knows my tastes reads it first and then makes me read it). I enjoy fiction of all sorts - I used to order from QPB (quality paperback book club) constantly - history, military, psychology, science, religion, etc). I read anything I can. BUT, I am so behind now. Kids keep me busy as heck and I am usually too mentally dizzy to sit still and read. I still read my news on line, and blogs for fun. I read things posted in several on-line groups I belong to. But I don't have as much time for real books anymore... sigh.

Currently, I am reading a sci-fi military novel (one of my fave genres), first of a series, with a main character named Honor Harrington. My daughter is named Honor, you'd think I would have read this a long time ago (no, she's not named for the character) just because it's a nifty coincidence! But I haven't had time to start a new series.

I'm also starting on a Chinese cookbook that I picked up at a used book store over the summer. The thing has to be 50+ years old, but it is a fascinating read with notes about different versions of the cuisine. (um.. yea.. while I never stick to recipes, I always substitute, etc., I love to read cookbooks.)

Laural Out Loud said...

You can never read too much! In fact, I don't read nearly as often as I should. I used to read a few books a week, back before I was a mom. I remember the nights I'd stay up until 2:00 in the morning to finish a good book fondly. They don't happen anymore.

I also keep all the books I read. I'm just weird that way. My dream is to have a house with a library to house them all. I'm running out of room! So, yes, I do still try to read, but am now only averaging about one book a month. Such a shame.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Last year I read almost 300 books. And I just know because I finally kept a list. This year, I might crack 100. Maybe. Because blogging doesn't count. And it has seriously infringed on my reading time. That and that 888 challenge. Where I am finally reading books good for my brain, so they are slowing me down a bit, too.

As for what I read...I am a huge fan of the smutty book. And from there, I like all kinds of things. Best sellers, chick books, memoirs, non-fiction, young adult...eclectic is where it's at.

Sarah said...

wow-- I was just looking for a new book and clearly I came to the right place. Blogging is cutting in on my reading time for sure-- but there are a lot of interesting blogs out there.