Your pages are numbered.

I keep a list of “Books to Read in 2017”, which has already swelled to a wishful thinking level of eighty volumes. Oh, and don’t forget the thirty additional reads that will be assigned throughout the year by my various book clubs.

I love to read because I am eternally seduced by the illusions it provides. The illusion that I  are doing something worthwhile. (This is a lie; I am merely lazy and therefore, reading suits me.)  The illusion that with every book I tick off I am gaining knowledge and making some sense of the world. (Ha! A lie; no sense can apparently be made of this world.) The illusion that reading makes me more interesting. (This is the biggest lie of all – have you ever seen people’s eyes glaze over when you start telling them about the last book you read?)

But read I will because it cannot be helped. And because a recent article by Emily Temple at  Literary Hub has introduced a heart-palpitating sense of urgency to the task. According to her calculations, I have, at best, around 1,200 books left to read before I go to that great library in the sky. The implications are grave and the message is clear; ditch the beach reads and crack the pages of Proust and Joyce, because it is later than I think.

But enough about me. How is the reading clock ticking for you? According to Ms. Temple, the average American reads 12 books a year. If you read less than that, I guess you have an actual life, or perhaps you are just a philistine, and in either case our paths probably don’t cross so you are not reading this post anyway. If you read 50 books a year, she categorizes you as a “voracious” reader; show-offs like my husband (side-eye here to the CE) qualify as “super” readers, those who devour 80 or more books annually. Here are Ms. Temple’s nifty actuarial projections for each category – and if you are over 50, prepare to be humbled:








I can’t decide whether this is just the kick in the pants I needed to up my reading goals or if I should just surrender and download Fifty Shades Darker. One hopeful thought here: Ms. Temple’s projections may be a bit conservative – my 95-year-old mother-in-law reads hours every day and since I’m pretty sure she will live to be 110, all these calculations apply only to the rest of us amateurs.

Happy reading!





About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in Music/Art/Literature/Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Your pages are numbered.

  1. dizzyguy says:

    I was thinking about reading this post, but then I walked past a Hemingway sitting on the table. Turned out to be a Joyce. So here I am. Happy reading discoveries to all who have the blessing of the time to do so.

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