BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

So, the theory is that I don’t HAVE to read anything ever again…because I’m going to die

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Over at Literary Hub, Emily Temple has worked out how many books you are likely to read before you die – combining life expectancy tables and working on the basis that an average reader will read a book a month, a voracious reader just under a book a week and super readers 80 a year.

So, I reckon I’ve got between 1000 and 2000 books left to read. That’s all.

And that should mean I don’t have to read rubbish. I don’t have to read books that are absolutely fine in their own way but don’t work for me. I don’t have to persevere with a s-l-o-w book. I don’t have to be optimistic about a dull book, telling myself that it’s bound to get better.  I can read what I want. And stop when I want.

Only I can’t. Unless life changes drastically (and I don’t want it to) there are bound to be duty reads (books I’ve been asked to review, books written by friends, books written by  authors I am working with in some way), books I know I am going to hate but I want to ready anyway (because they’ve hit the bestseller list and I want to find out why), and books I need to read (so I don’t kill the roses or because I’m visiting a place I’ve never been to before). For that reason, I’m not going to worry about the not-very-good that creep into my 2000 last books (cheery thought), but I do want to make sure that at least some of them lift the small hairs at the back of my neck.

So I’m appealing for suggestions – what are you really, really glad you read? What has stayed with you for years? What have you read and re-read? No Dickens, Austen et al, please. Take those as already read…

I have two for you:

Troubles by J.G. Farrall (Winner of the 1970 lost Man Booker prize) Set in Ireland before the Civil War, it is funny, poignant, satirical and beautifully written.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg – brilliant Scandy crime fiction long before it became a genre all its own

And if you want to find out how many books you have left you can read Emily Temple’s article here.

 

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10 comments on “So, the theory is that I don’t HAVE to read anything ever again…because I’m going to die

  1. cathum
    April 24, 2017

    This is tricky, but how about The Headless Angel by Vicki Baum, and Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy.

    • bridget whelan
      April 24, 2017

      Headless Angel? never heard of it – I shall hunt it down and Phillip Pullman does almost come under the heading of a classic. Thank you for these suggestions

  2. Jennie
    April 24, 2017

    Great post! The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo is still my favorite. Thank goodness it came into my life. A must read for anyone and everyone.

    • bridget whelan
      April 24, 2017

      Another one I’ve never heard of…brilliant!

      • Jennie
        April 24, 2017

        Oh, Bridget, you will ADORE this book. Promise. Please let me know when you have read it. 😍

  3. bridget whelan
    April 24, 2017

    Will do!

  4. scarlett1000
    April 25, 2017

    Oh, I think reading tastes are so personal. I have recommended books to people who have hated them!! So perhaps I am not the best one to offer a book, but one of my favourites remains The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Just wonderful in my humble opinion. I’m with you though on no longer persevering with dull books. Too little time….

    • bridget whelan
      April 28, 2017

      Loved The Poisonwood Bible – good choice. I know what you mean about the dangers of recommending books. One of the joys of belonging to a book group is being introduced to books I would never have even picked up that I end up loving….(LA Confidential springs to mind) but I have also been left totally unmoved by a book that brought tears to the eyes of a close friend…but now that I don’t need to feel guilty about abandoning a book after the first chapter I am free to try anything…

      • scarlett1000
        May 1, 2017

        Couldn’t agree more! Life is too short to persevere with a book you don’t like!

  5. lesleyscoble
    May 2, 2017

    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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