How much can you read in a year?

I’ve noticed there are a lot of people out there in the literary portion of the blogosphere engaged in a “50 book challenge” — an effort to read 50 books in a year. I’m not sure where it started, but it’s a great idea and a great challenge. Especially for those of us who are not exactly what you’d call speed-readers. Some people can read a book in a couple days, but I’m not one of them (I can only wish).

However, even though I’m reading more this year than in any previous year of my life, I still don’t think I’m gonna make it to 50. The year is almost half over and right now I’ve read 17 books, and working on numbers 18 and 19. So optimistically, I might make it to 40. But then, quite a few of the books on my “unread books” shelf are long ones, so I’m aiming for a respectable goal of 35 this year.

Next year, maybe we’ll raise the bar and actually go for 50!

Along with the numerical goal, though, I also have another goal for myself. I’d like to read, during this year, science fiction from every decade of the 20th century. I think I’ve got the majority covered already, but I still need to fill in the earlier parts of the century, specifically the 1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s, and the 1940’s. If anyone has any favorites from those periods, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Excuse me, I have to go read now……

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3 responses to “How much can you read in a year?

  1. Last year was the first year that I did book reviews and I got 118 books read, and 98 of them reviewed and put up on my website. They were a mix of long and short, but most of them were in the 80,000 – 120,00 word range. That was a LOT and it really, really wore me out, so this year I’m not reading as many. I don’t want to burn my self out, after all. I’ve got another 55 done so far this year, and I figure that I should have 75-80 done by the end of December, but from now forward I’m going to read a “big book” every two weeks or so. I have about thirty of them or so on my list so I should get through the lion’s share of them by December so I can get going on the remainder of the little known books I want to read (some of which are also “big” books).

  2. Bill the sci-fi guy

    I think you’re really a robot, android, or other artificial being. No human should be able to read that fast. :P

  3. I keep telling people, its not something inherent in me. I read literally hundreds of pages at work in a day sometimes, and after a while, you stop speed reading and begin actually reading with high comprehension at high speeds. Its a practiced skill that gets better as you do more and more, and especially with SF, which really does have its own unique idiom and structure.

    As for the decades you are trying to fill in, The Moon Pool, from 1917 is great, as is Foundation, from the 40’s. From the oughts, there are a few late Wells entries, but if you have your mind set to read in every decade, this may be the decade that disappoints you. Wells was on the decline, and more interested in socialism at that point, and nobody interesting came along until later. In the twenties there was R.U.R. (I think a review of that play, one of Asimov’s early robot stories, and the movie Metropolis would be an awesome way to put together a themed review) and Ralph 124C 41+, which was important, but not the most enjoyable book in the world.

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