I found this article recently, which estimated as an aside that an ‘extraordinary’ reader, who manages to finish an average of a book a week, will only be able to read about 3000 books in their lifetime. I calculated that at a book a week for approximately 57 years, so starting at the age of 13 and living (and reading) through until 70 years old. 3000 books…
Goodness. Is that all?
That’s just not enough.
The article goes on to talk about how, due to this limitation, it is so important to choose your reading carefully and not to waste your time on ‘bad books’. But I kept getting caught on how few 3000 books actually is. Just to put it in perspective, I own nearly 1000 books – which would make up a third of my lifetime quota already. I would love to read my way through my entire book collection (which grows at a rate of 5 – 10 books a month) but still allowing myself to get distracted by library books, book club books, borrowed books, re-reads of favourites and the plethora of other reading material that is out there. Which then begs the question. Am I simply being unrealistic?
I am in no place to estimate my own life expectancy, nor my ability to continue to read until I reach it, but of course I hope the prognosis on both will be good. But being well into my 30’s already, I am a long way past the 13 year old starting age. Can I start my 3000 all over again please?
Realistically, I can read more than a book a week, which increases my numbers. I have joined the 75 book challenge over at LibraryThing in conjunction with various other reading challenges this year, so that ups my total by 50% at least. Then there is always the example of this lady who is looking to read 200 books this year. She’s certainly defying the average.
The problem is, there are so many admirable books out there. There are so many exciting stories to read. There are so many fascinating things to learn and amazing things to discover between the pages of books. Even some of the ‘bad books’ merit a read. I have spent time with books that reviewers have slated and been pleased I made the effort. I have persevered with books I started out hating and not been sorry. Of course, there were some which I was sorry and hated all the way through, but how would I have known the difference if I hadn’t persevered? Now I wonder, has that one bad book has taken up one of my precious quota?
As much as I hope for immortality to achieve my quest of reading everything in the Amazon catalogue, being a realist I am not really holding my hopes up. In the meantime, all we can do is our best.
3000 books just isn’t enough.
I had better get reading.
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