Daily Archives: September 18, 2018

A Numbers Game

I realised last night, as I wrote Burned by Ellen Hopkins onto my paper copy of The List, that I’ve almost equalled my number of books read last year. Burned was book number 188, and I read 189 books last year.

My biggest year ever was 2017, in which I read 192 books.

I don’t know why I put such store in the number of books I read. It’s not like reading more books makes me a better bookworm. Actually, it probably means that I absorb less of the books that I read.

With, for example, dystopian books, I’ve read so many that they all blend together. I can no longer remember the details of the main characters from the Bumped duology or the Matched trilogy, or of their love interests, because they’ve blended into one indefinable soup of dystopia. Whereas someone who reads more slowly, savours their reading experience more, really connects with the books they’re reading, probably has a better understanding of the books and would be better able to discuss their books than I can my books.

And yet even though I know that, I still take a perverse pleasure in seeing the number of books that I’ve read tick upwards, and in outdoing what I’ve done in previous years. I’m hoping to read more than 200 books this year, and given my track record so far, I can’t see why I wouldn’t manage that. The likelihood of me not reading eleven more books this year is so small that I would think it nigh on impossible. But you never know. I might suffer a terrible accident and lose all my linguistic skills. Or some kind of rising movement might forbid women speech, or permission to read, like in the Handmaid’s Tale and Vox.

But failing that, it’s pretty much a given that I’ll read more than 200 books this year. And I’m really weirdly proud of that fact. But I don’t really understand why. It’s not something to be proud of. Nobody would go around boasting that they’d watched 200 films in a year. Nobody would be delighted to say that they’ve watched 200 episodes of a tv series. So I don’t understand why I have this internal glee at managing something which, really, isn’t all that remarkable. Especially when you consider that I don’t generally watch tv or films (with the odd exception), so reading really is what I do with my leisure time. Well, that and mindlessly browsing the internet.

At any rate, I’m still racking up the numbers on books read. My current read (or actually, listen) is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which I’ve been listening to for 23 hours, and in which nothing has really happened yet. I have another nine hours to go, and can’t really see that changing. It’s more of a musing on human nature and a social commentary, with some magic thrown in there for good measure. But… I don’t know. It’s just not doing it for me.

Also, footnotes, in an audiobook, are weird.

We continue onwards and upwards to books 200+ this year. I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m still excited about it.

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