How large is your backlog?
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Let's say you stopped purchasing books this moment, and concentrated on reading what you have. I don't mean you retired and spent all your time just reading, I meant you keep doing what you're doing now (same lifestyle), just not accumulating new books. How long would it take you to finish reading the books in your library that you have not yet read?
My backlog is really not that large (about 100 books... keep in mind, I have been downsizing for a some time :)
However, I'm so busy these days with work (not compalining, just busy) that I don't read for pleasure as much as I would like. I would say 100 books would take me 3-5 years (I do read quite fast).
Are you talking about just the Easton PRess books, or (god forbid) all unread books?
Oh lord. The unread books in my library are in the thousands...(of course, the books I've actually read are in the thousands as well).
My attitude has shifted over the years from "someday I'll read all my books" to "if I'm ever in the mood, at least I'll know where to find it"
It would probably take me ten years if I stopped buying books now. That is assuming I finish all my unread books. As time goes by, I have less patience for sticking it out to the end of a book that isn't appealing to me.
>4 SilentInAWay:: My attitude is that since I have two kids I only have to read one third of them, they can take care of the rest. Actually they have to read more because they have longer to live. I'd better buy some more books.
Guilty as charged (ignoring this thread). When I began book collecting I had every intent to read all of my books in the proverbial someday. Then I started acquiring much faster than even a speed reader could keep up (and I actually and unfortunately read very slowly). Last I checked my backlog assuming an average pace of 40 or so books a year will exceed my life expectancy so I have to face the reality now that some books in my library will simply never be read by me. Sad but that hasn't stopped me from continuing to add and exacerbate the backlog!
And I'd better start procreating in order to have an excuse to buy more books!
>8 SpoonFed:: Best reason I can think of for buying more books. ; )
Hoooonney ..... !?!
My backlog is pretty big, this is mostly due to two reasons.
First I do not for the moment and I have not for some time been reading every day, and in addition I read quite slow and tend to pause often when I do.
Secondly many of the books that I own are more academically oriented and in that sense they are more for reference then A-Z reading, so many of them will remain unread in their entity I suppose.
That being said I have thought about it during the last month that I will go through the books I have and see if there are any that I can put up for sale or just give away.
Assuming there are about 2500 books on my backlog, I need 6.8 years of reading with a rate of one-book-a-day.
However, when I continue to read 2 books per week (my current reading rate) it would take over 24 years to complete!
The only way of fulfilling this task would be to commit a crime that locks me up in prison for the next two decades or so.
How much would you get when you rob a book store, let 's say the one on 44, Eagle Street, London?
Islandbooks - I will be in London from Sept 1 to Sept 19, let me know if you need an accomplice for the 44, Eagle Street "borrowing."
I am rather impressed, however, at your reading rate of 2 per week! You must be a speed reader. Since most of my books are history, they are often a slow slog though inherently educational and (to me at least) entertaining.
In my twenties, I often read around 100 books a year. Now, in a good year, I read maybe half that. In calculating my backlog, must I take this negative accelleration into account?
Absolutely, otherwise it is not an accurate representation of your true backlog. You also probably need to take into account some level of future purchases unless it exceeds your annual reading level, in which case your backlog seems infinite to me.
Good lord, these forums....whale penises, chicken mcnuggets, what will think of next?
>11 islandbooks: Martin how do you manage to get to read 2 books a week? I can at most do 1 a week but maybe that is because I read more history books that are larger than the average fiction or so.
History fans are the best!! (also the least employable, according to today's societal standards, but that's another kettle of fish)...I have a small backlog which at present consists of a couple of "100 Greatest" titles which I got but I have doubts as to whether I'll ever muster the interest to actually read them all the way through, unless I'm REALLY bored. -O.K., I'm referring to Aristotle's "Politics" and "Poetics" and Livy's "History of Early Rome" - I feel somehow guilty about dismissing these two titans of classical history/philosophy :-(
>16 UK_History_Fan: Glad to hear that UK History! I just bought a couple of months back the The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire. I am sucker for those Cambridge History series. It is definitely going to take some time to get through it. I also see that the FS is offering the 6 volume The New Cambridge History of Islam at a hefty £699. I just can't justify that price at the moment. I am also trying to get the Yale English Monarch series that boldface recommended some time ago and is himeself collection.
I have been very tempted by the Cambridge History of Byzantium as well. Are you happy with it ?
I took my history degree at Cambridge and, predictably, the Cambridge Histories were always required reading ! Depth of coverage is usually excellent, but they sometimes have a tendancy towards academic dryness.
>19 Quicksilver66: David!
Yes I am quite happy with it. I don't think you can avoid the tendancy towards academic dryness in the series, but I do think so far this volume is intriguing and and a joy to read. You can read a chapter excerpt PDF to get an idea.
I also found this review by the Historical Society on which I based my decision to purchase this from the FS. I actually got this as a free set in the spring sale. I could not believe they offered it. I believe the review provides a better introduction than what I could say about it, but I do recommend it.
In retrospect, I would loved to have chosen to read history instead of law. I do think about going back to university.
I know how you feel. I took my first degree in history and then I studied law. My first love is history though - the decision to study law was taken solely as a career move.
Do you practice law in Denmark?
Unfortunately, no. I took a government job as a legal advisor. I have actually specialised in international space law at university. I am still hoping one day to qualify alas with the recession it seems more impossible with each day that passes and that space law in non-existant in Denmark :)
> 19 - 22
totally agree on the employability comment. My undergrad is in European History but my career is in accounting / finance (thanks to a graduate degree) . Originally intended a doctorate in english history, thus the handle I use on here...Tudor-Stuart England more specifically.
I too own the Byzantium set but it is still shrink-wrapped and I paid full price! But I do own and have read the outstanding and beautifully produced FS 3 vol set by Norwich which I highly recommend!
My first truly elaborately expensive book purchase was the (19???) multi-volume Cambridge Ancient History set the FS made available at what I recall as a 20% discount a few years back. I am still kicking myself hard for passing on the Medieval History set by CUP which sold out back before I could afford it! I also bought the 3-vol russian history set.
I have a very used and beat up version of the large single-volume Renaissance and single-volume reformation titles in the CUP modern history series. Clearly I am a fan of these books!
Incidentally I will be visiting Cambridge during one of my away outings during my upcoming London vacation.
(reading two books per week) I'm traveling to my work by train which is two hours per day: excellent reading time!
If you visit Cambridge do go to David's Booksellers in St Edwards Passage. It was a favourite haunt of mine as a student. The front part is mainly remaindered and second hand, but around the back he has a great antiquarian section where you can browse at leisure.
David, thanks for the tip. My understanding is that we get some free time over lunch, so I will be sure to eat quickly and explore David's.
I worked in accounting/finance for 3 years before landing my current legal job. It paid and helped me through my masters. I also have CUP Russian set :)
It does pay bills sufficiently to allow me some book indulgences :-)
I have a 'to read' list which is a subset of the 'unread' list, neither of which include what I consider reference books (books dipped into or referred to occasionally, but never really read cover to cover). My 'to read' list is currently 732 books, but I know that I have a couple of dozen recently acquired and waiting to be entered into that list. Assuming my 10-year average rate of about a book a week, that's about 14 years of reading on my formal 'to-read' list.
Of all non-reference books, I've read 795 out of 2,284. My ratio of read to total has remained at about 1/3 since I started my catalog in 2000, when my library was about 40% the size it is now. Again, at my average reading rate, that leaves me with enough reading to last about 29 years, which is about the same as my remaining life expectancy. I hope to increase my reading rate significantly in about 7 or 8 years, however, as I wind down my vocation and increase time on my avocations.
All of you people put me to shame, at least in terms of reading ambitions. My backlog never exceeds c. two books!!!
Speaking of reading 100 books a year, did you know this? George W. Bush was not only an avid reader but the books he read weren't exactly a mere nothing.
In 2006, George entered a bet with Karl Rove, his Deputy Chief of Staff, which of the two would read most books in a year time.
Karl Rove won with 111 books, but Bush was reading 95. Ninety-five books in one year, that's roughly 2 a week! And this was done besides a 'job' as president of the US.
People around Bush have often said that at parties/receptions/banquets/etc. Mr. Bush always quickly left at 9 o'clock at night. It turned out that he went to bed to read.
The books on his list were mostly historical classics.
George W.: maybe not the best example of a world leader, but as a reader he surely stands out!
>33 islandbooks:: "George W.: maybe not the best example of a world leader, but as a reader he surely stands out!
Maybe not the best but then only one can be that. On the other hand, he was certainly not an obamanation, or quite possibly the worst example of a world leader either.
> 33, 34
I personally think we should keep these posts free of U.S. politics which are so hyperpartisan at the moment. This is probably not the best forum.
wailo wasn't really talking politics -- he just can't resist the opportunity to propagate a pun.
>35 UK_History_Fan:: Probably a good idea.
I realize islandbooks post was specifically intended to address Bush's astuteness as a reader but the last sentence, perhaps even inadvertently, plays off of the left wing, stereotype of President Bush as an inept, bumbling leader; a stereotype propagated by the liberal-biased, mainstream media in one more of their not-so-subtle campaigns of personal destruction. They've said it so many times, of course, and if they say something over and over again, it must be true, right? (Well, wrong actually, except that it becomes so ingrained in the public psyche that the truth never sees the light of day.) I'm sorry if I intercepted island's post and ran to the other end of the field with it but I personally believe that President Bush was a very able, capable , and commendable world leader for whom I am thankful to have had as President during so challenging a time in American history. When time digests and deposits in the annuls of history the facts regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the Bush administration without the liberal slant it will tell a different story than the pre-blended, opinion-pieces the media passes off for news these days.
>36 SilentInAWay:: Don't call me Black, Kettle!
As far as backlog goes, I probably have around a third of my books still remaining to be read. When I began, I decided to finish any book once I started it, no matter how it turned out. Well, recently I've found I just stop reading some that don't quite draw me in so that I can move on and finish one that I really do like. There have hardly been any so far that I had trouble finishing, however, one comes to mind which I was wondering if any of you had trouble getting into: Lord Jim by Conrad. I know the basic summary of the story and thought it sounded pretty interesting, but once I started it, I just found it hard to follow. On the other hand, maybe I just had other things on my mind, at the time, and just didn't concentrate enough. For now, I've put it down and continued to the second Sherlock Holmes book.
>38 Arknight:: I had similar difficulties in appreciating or getting into "Heart of Darkness". It just didn't "do it" for me.
I concur with Arknight and Tom. I do not give up on a book very easily, but Lord Jim lasted 50 pages...
Sounds like a challenge on which I might just have to take all of you up.
I had no intention to be negative about President Bush, I deliberately used the word maybe because I know there are different opinions about his leadership.
I agree with UK_History_Fan that we should keep these posts free of U.S. politics. ;-)
I started but didn't finish Lord Jim quite awhile ago. I've had several books that went that way, but find that years later, I can pick them up and give it another shot and find them quite fine. Who and where you are in your life journey changes how a book works for you. Besides, I've read quite a few books now that did not begin to pay off until I was well into them, and I think that has made me more patient than I used to be.
So, Lord Jim is still on my 'to read' list.
>42 wailofatail:: I'll give it a whirl ... though I'm certain you all will smoke me.
I agree to keep this post free of politics if wailofatail deletes the offensive pun in post 34 above.
Also islandbooks should edit and delete the last sentence in post 33. No man of unexceptional qualities rises to president of the US.
Have you read Lord Jim? If it's in your backlog, are you up for SilentInAWay's suggestion?
Yes, Os., I have read it in the LEC edition illustrated by Lynd Ward. A fascinating, though sometimes frustrating book. I have found with Conrad that he tends to hook you early, exasperate you until you want to give up during the first third of his books, then get you impatient to get to the end. When you do finish it, you have the feeling you have experienced a great work of art, but for me, anyway, I have to steel myself to start the next work.
Still, Lord Jim, The Nigger of the 'Narcissus', Typhoon and especially The Secret Agent stand at the very top rung of 20th century English novels. That said I need to finish the second two thirds of Nostromo--one I did give up on--and tackle Under Western Eyes which has been very highly praised as well as The Arrow of Gold and The Rescue which I got on a Folio Society sale.
Lord Jim is one of my favourite novels (and Conrad my favourite author). I have read it three times now. I agree that Nostromo is quite difficult, but it is a magnificent novel and if you read through to the end, your patience will be repaid.
I have read Lord Jim. It is difficult to enjoy in spots, but do stick with it. It is one of those books that when you have finished it, you're glad you read it. Or, as Django said, "When you do finish it, you have the feeling you have experienced a great work of art." I like to "collect" quotes as I read books, and some of the best in my "collection" come from Lord Jim.
>51 indigosky:: "I like to "collect" quotes as I read books"
Another?! I do that too! My wife wanted to know what was that in the file folder labeled 'quotes'. Can anyone figure out this one, (sans Google):
"But perhaps the things that he held to be good and right to do, were not the good and right things for our time, or if they were, then perhaps he carried them out with too much force or with too straight a tongue and through that, put men against him."
That reminds me of a time years ago when I was in elementary school, someone told me that I needed to know what the first line of Moby Dick was for the SAT test one day in the future. I remembered, "Call me Ishmael," for like 9 years only to never see that question on the test!!! ARGH!
The other weird thing that I can not forget and I have no idea why, is a password for a game called Mega Man 2 on the original Nintendo Entertainment System which I memorized when I was 6:
A1, B24, C15, D13, E35
Maybe this will be useful one day for some purpose I cannot yet foresee?
I am not sure which the book is, but the style is Richard Llewellyn's - so it is either one of his... or someone with a very similar style.
PS: I am not collecting quotes but I have a weird memory sometimes - which was a problem back in high school because a lot of the teachers did not believe that I can repeat 3 pages from the textbook word by word without looking at them... until they actually figured out that I am not learning by heart intentionally and I am not trying to cheat :) With the years I remember less and less -- but I still have weird moments when I just snap pages or paragraphs in my memory...
>51 indigosky:, 52
I keep a commonplace book; a blank book in which I record quotes I don't want to lose. It's always handy on a table in the main room of my house, and it's wonderful to just flip through it once in awhile and recall the great stuff I've read. There are some quotes that come from other sources besides literature, but mostly they are from my readings. To me, it helps magnify the benefits of my hobby/compulsion.
>54 AnnieMod:: You have a very keen memory AnnieMod. The quote is from Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley. Where is the E/P edition of this book?
I am really bad at remembering plots for the most part... or details... although once I start reading a book again or start reading a sequel, it all comes back. At the same time I can recall phrases and paragraphs and assign them to books/authors.
I need to reread this book... had been a while and I am mixing 2 or 3 of them in my head.
I'm glad to hear there are other quote collectors among us. I'm not surprised at all.
On topic: My "To Read" category here on LT has 112 books in it. I'm sure I could add another hundred if I counted in books on my current wish list.
I only track the hardcovers but...
163 read since I started tracking (32%)
343 unread in library (68%)
Double plus ungood.
If I read 25 books a year then I'll be completely through my collection in 14 years. Of course there are some doubles, so maybe I'll move a bit faster.
Of course, if you are anything like me, your library will continue to grow over the next 14 years, repeatedly deferring that completion date...
No matter how much or how fast I read, I can always buy them faster...
The only thing that is going to stop me from accumulating is unemployment... or getting married (jk). ;)
Keep dreaming. You just switch to "Cheapest available copy" and then when you see yourself with more money, you start replacing them. Been there, done that. Haven't tried to get married to see if that will put a stop of my books buying though :)
>61 EclecticIndulgence:, 62
Getting married - you'll either become co-enablers, or you'll figure out how to get books into the house and onto the shelves without being noticed. Been there, done that.
LOL Osbaldistone!! Good to know I'm not the only one sneaking them in! "Yeah, nothing interesting in the mail today honey..." (Secretly opens box in the garage).
In January 2000, I started methodically tracking wishlist, purchases, to reads, and books read. My database calculates my reading rate (books/month and books/year) and uses that to calculate the length (in years) of my 'to read' list.
In 2000, my 'to read' list was about 9 years. It has steadily increased, as has my read rate. Since January 2000, I've read 659 books, and I have 729 on my 'to read' list. That comes out to about 13.5 years. And I know I have books that I haven't put on my to read list yet, and the database doesn't count books that I want to read again (I'm afraid to add that feature in).
>63 Osbaldistone:: Or both. My wife brings home a dozen boxes at a time from her office for me in which to store my library overflow and then gives me the evil eye when I fill them up.
I put small stacks of books in carefully selected locations around the house for "decorative purposes". It hides the fact that I've filled the shelves and am still acquiring books.
Actually, the only books I'm acquiring now that I'm unemployed are Early Reviewer books I've received, but the above was true for a couple of years before, and, I'm sure, will be true again when I find my next employment (anyone know someone looking for an experienced project manager/environmental engineer?).
I've downloaded a couple hundred books on my kindle recently. At around 1 book per week read, it's gonna take a while.
The unread collection on my kindle has 127 books at the moment. And I kinda cheated so I have a second collection called "New" which is for books published in the last couple of years -- and the number there is similar.
Does not mean that I stopped buying paper books... if anything, I seem to buy more than usually for some reason.
When I was in Bulgaria, I could not receive my books on my real address (long story about post offices and stolen packages and so on). So all my books were arriving at my mother's home. The first couple of years she was complaining that I always have packages arriving. Later, she was so used to it that when I did not have a package for a full week, she asked if she should go and talk with the post office people so they can track down where my packages are. She was joking that people have bad habits or throw money on expensive cars while I spend money on books. Add to these all the books I was buying locally or during trips... Fast forward a few years and I am packing to leave for the States and all those books need to be stored and/or given away. Her last words at the airport when she was seeing me off? "Try not to make the same thing with books in the States". Then we were talking a few days ago and I mentioned that I just ordered 4 new bookcases... Her reaction was: "Of course you did. Did you remember to finally buy yourself a sofa as well?" :)
Annie, if I can find it again, I'll send you a picture of a very nice sofa with built-in bookcases on the sides and the back. (Some furniture makers are very attuned to addictive types and their needs.)
I have 72 EP books on my shelf at present. I have read 33 of them - almost 50%. I must do better !!
But the pleasure of these books is not only in the reading of them. I love looking at them, re-arranging them, leafing through and lovingly caressing them.
Nope. Just pluck them from the shelf and read them. No white gloves for me - but I naturally respect books, handle them carefully and don’t stress the spines.
The way you were describing I wasn't thinking of white gloves, but perhaps latex...
Ha - I know. I often use romantic language when describing books. I don’t know I’m doing it. I don’t know what that says about my state of mind.
I have read all 7 of my EP books (excluding the Faerie Queene, which I just received about an hour ago :D), but have at least a hundred other books on my to-read (and owned) list. My other books may get out of hand because I'm able to buy too many at once, but I'm determined to make sure that I read all of my EP and FS books before I'm able to treat myself to any new ones (I'm excluding the complete Beatrix Potter collection from the FS books I have to read, because they are to read to my hypothetical future kids).
I am not sure how large my backlog is, if I exclude any books that I would label as reference literature in one way or the other then I guess it is about 200 books.
The very first book I read to my daughter, (she was just three days old,) was The Tale Of Jeremy Fisher. It was one of the small, pocket-size editions, which seemed suitable for such a tiny person. Of course, she fell asleep.
I have flicked through a couple of them, but haven't got around to reading them all. I may do it eventually, but don't consider them to be on my to-read list.
I like children literature. I grew outside of the English cannon so I am reading most of the books for the first time. And I am charmed. I suspect that I would have had different reactions if I had read them when I was supposed to... but even now, they are worth reading.
Something else I have been doing is slowly collecting a large number of Enid Blyton books, which were ones I very much enjoyed as a kid. These also are ones I might read when I'm not in the mood to read something larger and more difficult, but mostly I just collect them for my hypothetical future kids. If you enjoy reading children's literature and have never read anything of hers I would strongly recommend it.
Also, I hope you're not the sort who takes offence at this sort of thing, and sorry if you are, but I believe it's canon, not cannon.
(I was going to comment that I didn't grow up inside a large English gun either, but was worried that might be misconstrued as being insulting, particularly given that, from your comment, English isn't your first language, although I wouldn't have known that from your ability to write).
:) My spelling in the middle of the night can be... inventive. Especially when the spell-checker cannot help - as in this case :) So.. oops for the cannon/canon. When I am careful, I don't get them mixed up; when I am not - well... see above.
I've read most of the Blyton books - I like them :)
As for taking offense for this kind of things - no worries. And if you had posted the gun comment, I probably would have laughed. :)
Ah, my spelling and grammar can get a little bit dodgy late at night too. It's only 7pm here at the moment, so I can't make that excuse if I go making silly mistakes ;)
The Blyton books were a very important feature of my childhood--they introduced me to ginger beer, for which I will always be in their debt. Very good reads, too!
>53 Arknight: Ha, I remember a similarly formatted code for Mega Man 4 on NES.
I can read one book a day if I am on summer vacation but when teaching I drop down to about 1/2 a book a week. I read the papers in the morning and when I am finished read the books I am working on until my wife is ready to drop me off at work. But at school I mostly read for my job (grading papers, prep etc). During the week I am too tired to read more than about 15 minutes in the evening (then I fall asleep). But I make up for it on Saturday afternoons! I can only rely on having one or two long reading periods during the school year. So I have a back log particularly 1950's and 1960's and 1970's fiction I inherited from my parents. I enjoy the classics or non-fiction the most so I find I only read 1 or 2 contemporary fiction books per year. I don't mind having a backlog and if I have books that i know I will never read again I donate them. I rarely buy paperbacks anymore. I buy electronic versions for ephemeral books. The beautiful thing about EP books is they are not ephemeral.
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