Epistles of Thomas

January 10, 2015

2014 in Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 11:58
Tags: ,

This year’s post is again once and once again dedicated to Aunt Joan who already asked about it 🙂 .

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t posted in a whole year. I guess it just shows that 2014 was an ever more superer duper busy year for us. Even busier than 2013, which I remember as being busier than 2012, 2011 and so on. Can you sense that the trend is well established? 2014 was the first year since 2007 that I didn’t meet my goal of reading 100 books a year. 2015 is shaping up to be even busier as I’ve started another MA program.

Total books finished: 67
Total pages read 13,290
Average length of a book: 198 pages
Best month: February (17 books)
Slowest months: November (0 books! ouch)

I compared my reading to the New York Times bestseller list again this year. In 2014 I advanced one book, and have read 163 of 10,618 New York Times bestsellers. You can check out the list on LibraryThing. The total number of 10,618 hasn’t increased so I’m not sure what’s going on with that but anyway.

December 31, 2013

2013 in Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 22:20
Tags: ,

This year’s post is again once and once again dedicated to Aunt Joan who cares about such things 🙂 .

2013 was an ever superer duper busy year for us. Even busier than 2012, which I remember as being busier than 2011 and so on. Can you sense that a trend has been established? I still managed to meet my goal of reading 100 books a year but just.

Total books finished: 104
Total pages read 19,267
Average length of a book: 185 pages
Best month: December (14 books)
Slowest months: Jan-Feb (5 books each)

I compared my reading to the New York Times bestseller list again this year. In 2013 I advanced two books, and have read 162 of 10,618 New York Times bestsellers. You can check out the list on LibraryThing.

January 20, 2013

Best books of 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 2:16
Tags: , ,

willardverwerI usually find a book to label “book of the year” during a calendar year but this time I have waited until now because I want to recommend a combination of books. Last year I read the The George Verwer Collection which is comprised of three previously published books. Verwer is the founder of OM and this was free for my kindle app. I’ve really been making good use of my Android phone on the bus and appreciate all the freebooks available. After finishing Verwer’s collection I was left wondering what a person is to do. His is a very challenging message but not exactly practical in leading one to the next personal step. Thankfully another free Kindle book was available. I began reading Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart immediately after Verwer and found that it complements it nicely. Once you have read Verwer you know the problem with the world and yourself and Willard will help you to renovate your heart and prepare you for the next step in life and ministry. In other words don’t read one without the other!

2012 in Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 2:03
Tags: ,

This year’s post is again once again dedicated to Aunt Joan who cares about such things 🙂 .

2012 was a super duper busy year for us. Even busier than 2011, which I remember as being busier than 2010. Are you sensing a trend here? I still managed to do some reading in my spare time; on buses, on airplanes. Statistically speaking it wasn’t much better than last year but again I tried to read selectively and stick with winners.

Total books finished: 155
Total pages read 28,107
Average length of a book: 181 pages
Number of non-English books: 7
Best month: January (29 books)
Slowest months: Nov-Dec (3 books each and only 618 pages total)

I compared my reading to the New York Times bestseller list again this year. Last year I had read 152 of 10,518 New York Times bestsellers. I am now up to 160, however the total number has increased to 10,617 which means they added 99 books last year and I added 8! You can check out the list on LibraryThing. http://www.librarything.com/bookaward/New+York+Times+bestseller

February 28, 2011

How do I read so much?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 5:51
Tags: , ,

I’ve been asked how I’m able to read so many books every year. Do I “speed read,” do I just “skim” them or what? Let me explain, beginning with some background detail. First, I do read them cover to cover. If I count a book as read it means I have read every word in it. To qualify as a book it has to have an ISBN and page numbers. I could read a lot of short books but last year my average length was 192 pages so that isn’t the case. My overall average since I started keeping track (on Dec 9, 1986) is 178. I originally pondered counting lines per page or something to provide a more accurate count of how much I am actually reading but that seemed like too much work and now in the age of the e-reader it is possible to count actual words read. I am amazed how much books vary in words per page. You can see this when a book is originally published in hardcover and subsequently in paperback > the paperback version will usually have substantially more pages.

That said. How do I actually read so much? As of the end of February I have read 589654 pages, which takes:

1. Time. There’s only so much time in the day so where do I find time? I don’t watch TV. I gave it up for lent in 1998 and haven’t gone back. That’s not to say that I never watch it but I don’t follow any series and there is no such thing as “must see TV.” If I want to watch a series I buy it on DVD, like Corner Gas. This saves me having to watch the ads as well. Also, I am married but don’t have any kids. Kids take time, and rightly so, but I don’t have any yet. I also don’t work 70 hours a week. If you want to read a lot don’t get into management and work 70 hour weeks! I read wherever it’s convenient – on the bus, the train, the plane, in waiting rooms…Don’t get stuck reading 10 year old copies of Home and Garden or the airline magazine!

On top of finding time to read there is also the admitted fact that I read fast. I don’t “speed read/skim” because I enjoy reading and it’s hard to relax with a book if you are intent on pounding it back like sports drink after a game of soccer. I prefer to sip my books like herbal tea while playing tiddlywinks. Perhaps I should clarify that there is fast and superfast. In other words, I read a word at a time and not a paragraph at a time but I read those words pretty quickly.

Practice made me perfect, which is to say that the more you read, the easier it becomes. If you remember the first time you read Dick and Jane it took forever. The first time you picked up a textbook on elementary particle physics it took you a week of all-nighters. Now you can read about Dick, Jane and Spot and understand quarks and gluons with little trouble and your reading speed has increased.

Variety. Some people pick up their Calculus handbook and vow to read it if it kills them; usually they survive but their love of reading is gone afterwards. So read a variety of material. If you don’t feel like reading pick up a western.mystery.fantasy.romance and pound it back. You will be surprised how your brain responds with gratitude.

e-Reader. My wife bought me an e-reader in October and I’m sure I read 20% faster with it. The font is uniform in size and style which is nice. Turning pages is a click away and I hate to crack my spines so now I can be less careful about opening the book too far :).

Consistency. The longest book in the world was written by someone. Imagine how much longer it took him or her to write than it will take you to read. At a chapter per day most books can be read in a couple of weeks, no matter how difficult the subject matter. I admit to having started lots of books that I haven’t finished (yet!) but the way to finish a large book is one page at a time consistently. Just remember that sometimes the second half is better than the first and you will enjoy it!

Join a club. I have a LibraryThing account and some of friends and I have a group on there where we can chat, exchange book thoughts and see what each other has read recently. Of course, having someone like me in your group can be overwhelming – sorry about that folks. Do you still love me?

I hope this explains things and I hope that you can enjoy reading all the more!

P.S. If you’ve actually read this post you obviously enjoy reading. 🙂

January 2, 2011

2010 in Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 4:52
Tags:

This post is dedicated to Aunt Joan who cares about such things :).

2010 was a busy year for us but I managed to do some reading in my spare time; on buses, on airplanes, on trains. It turned out to be a bumper year in the statistics department. I read more pages than in any year other than 1989, which was awhile ago!

Total books finished: 237
Total pages read 45, 580
Average length of a book: 192 pages
Number of non-English books: 1
Best months: January (30 books), February (27) and April (26)
Slowest months: June and October (13 each and only 2261 pages in October)

My average is consistent with other years; above my overall average of 178 but below other years. This is due to a number of short books I read. There were no monster months – the page count was pretty steady throughout the year. My longest book of the year was definitely Three Kingdoms, the classic Chinese historical novel. I’ve finished the first two of four volumes. The volumes are paged consecutively, weighing in at over 2300 pages total, including notes.

I discovered that I have read 126 of 8,756 New York Times bestsellers, which is 1.4390132480584741891274554591138%. You can check out the list on LibraryThing. http://www.librarything.com/bookaward/New+York+Times+bestseller

My wife bought me an e-reader for Christmas but gave it to me a little early in October! I’m enjoying the e-ink screen and battery life. I haven’t had to recharge it yet and I’ve read thousands of pages. I’ve discovered the joys of free epubs on sites like Gutenberg.org. I read some Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer of course), and some Lewis Carroll and P.G.Wodehouse. Perhaps you can tell by my NYTimes statistic above that I’m not that interested in bestsellers (and over 10% of those are by John Grisham) and with all the free classics available I wonder why people still shell out good money for the latest and greatest overpriced bestsellers. I suppose they need to look cultured and not in a snooty librarian way (sorry hard working bibliophiles!).

I read my first all Chinese book last week. It was a murder mystery aimed at those of us with little vocabularly. It wasn’t bad and I enjoyed being able to recognise most of the characters I have learned.

Have a great 2011 and don’t forget to read a few books!

December 31, 2009

2009 Reading Roundup

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 18:24
Tags: ,

2009 has come to an end and although I haven’t finished all the books I set out to things were pretty good. This was the year that I cracked 500,000 total pages read (since Dec 1986) as well as the 3000 book mark (on Dec 18). November and December were my best months in ten years with 7133 pages finished in November and another 6039 in December. Hopefully 2010 can be just as big because I have a lot of books to finish before this summer.

2009 Stats (for Aunt Joan who is so proud of me)
Total books finished: 218
Total pages read: 40616
Average length of a book: 186 pages
Number of non-English books: 0
Best months: December (41 books finished); November (7133 pages finished)
Slowest months: April (10 books finished); March (1530 pages finished)

May 31, 2009

Half a million pages read

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 23:56
Tags:

When I totalled up May’s books I realised that I have now surpassed 500,000 pages read since I started keeping track on December 9, 1986. As of this moment the totals stands at 504, 246 pages read of completed books. Roughly speaking this is sixty pages per day. In that time I have completed 2869 books and have started about 100 others which are sitting around waiting for me to finish them :). I have to run now, lot’s of reading to do!

Blog at WordPress.com.