Only as an English major is reading 120 pages of a book a "relief" from your workload, what with twenty paged finals. This semester, however, even that isn't much of a vacation when five of your classes assign the same amount of reading. (Disclosure: I love my major and do not believe my teachers are asking too terribly much of me... at least, not individually).
I began to wonder just how many books I have read this semester already and decided to pull together all the required reading I had in my room and make a nice little stack. The picture below does not even include books borrowed from the library and works found online, but in total I have read twenty-one complete works, as well as snippets and chapters from other books and articles. In two months.
|Some of the books I've read so far this year|
But before I could pat myself on the back I realized that my attempts are, in reality, very humble. Before the Internet age people would spend hours of reading and would devour libraries of books. Even today we have people such as Louise Brown (pictured below) reading massive amounts of text.
|My newest hero ( full story at this Link)|
This super reader reads 12 books a week (leaving my"impressive" reading load in the dust in just two weeks). She is currently in her nineties and has burrowed over 25,ooo books from her library. That is super human. And this is just in a 60 year period! That is only 2/3 of her life people! She's been reading since she was five, so Lord knows how many books she's actually read in her life. This woman is dedication incarnate.
The most mind boggling part of this story is that she is doing this for no other reason than she likes to read. I mean, my 21 books boost my GPA and get my a bachelors degree. And to be honest, I've only enjoyed a small fraction of those books (Jane Austen taking up the majority of that minority). Given the choice, I probably would have put them down if I didn't have a quiz or awkward silence in class discussion to spurs me forward.
The question becomes what separates the book utilitarians from the book lovers? Many intellectuals read, but not for the exercise in of itself. It is the difference between a person running to stay in shape and running to feel the breeze in their face. One is happiest when it's over, the other happiest while it occurs.
College and schooling can turn former book lovers to the other camp if they are not careful. We skim because it's three in the morning and the coffee is gone. We skip reading if we know that the professor will accept our BS. Think about it though. We are getting credit to do something that we would do anyways. Why aren't we more excited? I've realized that I don't want to use books anymore and I don't want to make them work for me. I want to enjoy it once more and maybe enjoy my major a little more in the process.
So out of curiosity, can anyone top my 21 books? Let me know in the comments if you can figure out the math.