I like books. I love books. I buy them and borrow them and drool over the ones I can’t afford. That’s when I wish I didn’t have a conscience, so I could steal the titles out of my price range. In my little world, books are up there with dogs and sunshine — you simply can’t have enough. There’s no overboard.
But, holy smokes, it’s impossible to keep up. They just keep coming, from every direction: fiction, nonfiction, dictionaries, art, biography, science, technology, thrillers, young adult, even. I can only read so fast, you know; I’m not Evelyn Woods. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d want to be. Books are meant to be enjoyed, lingered over, not sped through at a breakneck pace.
Sure, sometimes you rocket through a story, but that’s because it’s fast-paced and engrossing; you’re helpless. At that point, you aren’t a reader, you’re a captive, hurtling along with the narrative. Then, bang, it’s over and you’re sorry. I have plenty to regret already, thank you, so I maintain a nice, steady pace of two books a week. Only one if it’s epic (≥ 500 pages), but maybe three if they’re short (≤ 200 pages) and the weather sucks. Well, guess what.
I’ll never catch up.
Do you have any idea how many books have been published over the course of history? Google does. They counted. The final tally came in at 129,864,880 books — that was in 2010. We’re probably over 130 million now. Damn!, and I’m daunted by the puny stack waiting on my shelves: The Sixth Extinction, The Nix, Krazy, The Chemist, The Undoing Project, Today Will Be Different, and Reality Is Not What It Seems. Seven titles = three and a half weeks.
Then I did more math. At 2 books a week for, say, 45 years, I’ve read 4,680 volumes, which leaves 129,860,200 ± to go. Great. Not a problem. With Trump as President, I’ll be lucky if the world lasts long enough to finish the stack I have.
Oy. And vey.
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