Monthly Archives: August 2006

An Appointment in Samarra

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Today is day 220 out of 365 in the calendar year.

Today is the day that I finished reading my 100th book of the year.

This is terrible.

I’m reading only one book every 2.2 days. I’m doing a lot better than the average American, who reads less than one book per year, but Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller would prefer not to compare herself to the average American, thanks very much. (See my previous blog entry if you didn’t get that.)

Look at it this way. 100 books in 220 days would give me 166 books in a year. Now figure that I haven’t taken my summer vacation yet, and obviously I haven’t taken Christmas vacation yet, and we can assume I’ll get to read extra then, so let’s predict 175 books in the average year.

Now let’s make a few assumptions. Let us assume

  • I don’t get hit by a bus (a realistic assumption, since I live rurally, though logging trucks pose a threat)
  • I don’t ever have kids to distract me from reading (another realistic assumption)
  • Global warming and nuclear warfare don’t annihilate the earth as we know it (not such a safe assumption)
  • I retire at 65 (a dangerous assumption, if W has his way with social security, etc.)
  • I live to the ripe old age of 90 (my diet and exercise wont get me there, but medicine works wonders)
  • I am currently 25 (not an assumption at all)

And let us further assume that, post-retirement, I double my reading rate (what the hell else will I do? I’m a librarian. ‘S not like I’ll be cavorting round the globe.)

That’s 40 years at 175 books and 25 years at 350 books, giving me a total expectancy of 15,750 books yet to read in my life.

That’s not nearly enough. If no other books were ever published (which unbearable to consider; I need to know if Ron and Hermione ever hook up) I would still never be able to read all the books I need and want to read that have been written so far, not with less than 16,000 books in my future.

It is a grim business, contemplating mortality.