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