Monday, October 6, 2014

104 Books in 34 Days, Including 4 Days of No Reading: Goal Accomplished!

And there you have it, folks.


30 Days
104 Books
Average of 225 pages per book  =  approximately 23,400 pages
Plus 600 additional miscellaneous pages [see below for explanation]
Approximately 24,000 pages of fiction and nonfiction absorbed during the month of September, 2014.

According to my survey just now of various writer and publisher websites, the average wordcount per page of trade paperback-sized non-fiction (most of my reading during this Challenge) = 350 to 400, possibly 500 or more if the font is tiny. Let's pick 375 as a middle number.  

This means that I read approximately 9 MILLION WORDS during the month of September.


It was a ridiculous goal to set for oneself -- to read 100 books in 31 days, but I accomplished it, even if my life got a bit out of hand and too busy to blog about the completion of the journey in real time.

This does not include the 600+ pages of 4 additional books that I didn't finish while reading for this Challenge. One was a 550 page murder mystery novel by one of my favorite authors, which I got 300 pages into and then put aside. One was an almost 700 page historical mystery intrigue novel that I got 200 pages into and then became distracted and moved onto another title. One was a French language novel which wound up being a bit above my level, so I put it aside after 70 pages. And the last was a very creative and funny book on electronics, a re-read that was so well-written and so full of meaningful analogies that I wanted to savor it at a later date, rather than plowing through it for this blog and Challenge.

There will be some who will say, sure, he can write about it almost 2 weeks later and tell us that he finished all of these books in 31 days, but how do we know he didn't really take the extra 10 days to finish the books. For that matter, how do we know that he actually read ANY of these books in the first place and didn't just look them up on Wikipedia or some shit like that?

Well, you don't.

But I do.

And so does Amanda at Roots Cafe in South Park Slope, who personally saw me read about 70 of the books mentioned in this blog as I enjoyed cup after cup of her fresh brewed varietal coffees like Colombian, Nicaraguan, Mexican, and Guatemalan -- each with a dash of almond milk and a pinch of honey. I must say that her vegan tofu scramble paninis with vegan Daiya cheese literally changed my life. Thanks for your many votes of confidence, Amanda (and her kind husband Christian), as you allowed me to clutter your space with stacks of books for a few hours each day during September 2014.

Also thanks to the NYC subway system, where I read a good portion of the books on this list. Good lighting, and just enough meaningless background noise for me to really be able to concentrate and hone in on the page in front of me.

Alas, a very true friend of mine is currently in palliative care at a hospital located almost 2 hours from me by subway, and unfortunately, part of the reason I was able to accomplish my goal and still get at least some things done in my life this past month, was due to the many, many trips back and forth, mostly late at night, to visit her and to tell her in her mostly non-responsive state that I love her.

Though I won't mention her name here out of respect for her family and business colleagues, who want to keep her status low-key at the moment, I would like to dedicate this blog and this journey, this One Month Reading Challenge to her. She has always inspired me to be a better person, just as this challenge inspired me in a way to test the limits of just how smart I might actually be -- or at least test one kind of "smarts."

Thanks to anyone who followed me on this journey. I hope that at some point in the future, perhaps with some editing and the right online marketing, this blog and my reading challenge might reach a wider audience. It really IS good to present ourselves with outrageous challenges here and there -- challenges that no one in his or her right mind would even think possible. In this case, with very little effort on my part other than maybe 4 or 5 hours a day of spare time, I was able to accomplish one VERY wacky goal in one month's time.

Thanks again to all for reading this blog, and very best wishes on your own intellectual adventures!

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