Saturday, January 1, 2011

Keeping Up

Someone I know was working hard (and successfully) over the holiday break to finish reading 50 books for the year.

Fifty seems like a good, round number, doesn't it? Inspired to look back, I find that I myself read 53 books in 2010, or just barely more than one per week. I must give credit to goodreads for encouraging me to keep track of them all, since otherwise I would certainly have no idea of the number.

I must also give credit to a kindly co-worker, who frequently lends me books to read (especially YA fiction), and, of course, to the South End branch of the Boston Public Library, where I checked out many of the others.

It's been a group effort. Hooray for all of us!

I also watched I don't know how many movies (at least one a week) and TV shows (ditto), read probably 25 or so issues of various magazines, played four video games, and read many thousands of blog posts (to hazard a guess based on my subscribed feeds and a tentative average for number of times each posts weekly, maybe 25,000?). Also there were the online news stories, the daily free paper on the train, and the backs of some cereal boxes.

I'm trying to consume my fair share of media here.

Although I do notice I'm not keeping up with podcasts. I just haven't gotten into them, despite regularly intending to.

My consumption of web video, while not non-existent, is also rather puny. Usually I just can't be bothered to wait 10 seconds for a clip to load.

I demand that my media be instantly available!--or I'm off to grab a book.

My attention span is a harsh environment.

Edited 1/1/11 to add that Jessamyn at has a much more detailed list of books read last year, including such interesting information as the percentage of books by male/female authors, the percentage of fiction/non-fiction, and the percentage she liked/disliked/was ambivalent about.

Now that's informative!

Inspired once again, I went back to count my own books, and find that I read almost equally male and female authors (25 and 28 titles, respectively), and slightly more fiction than non-fiction (31 and 22, respectively).

In case anyone wants to plot this on a nice four-way table, of the 22 non-fiction titles, 14 were by women and 8 by men, while of the 31 fiction titles, 14 were by women and 17 by men. Given this distribution, I can only conclude that I prefer to have facts presented to me by female writers, and to enjoy tall tales by male writers.

I mean, I have to conclude something, right?

Another year's worth of data may shed new light on this question.

I did not feel up to quantifying the degree to which I liked or did not like each of these books (there are so many levels of enthusiasm to consider!), so I'm leaving that number out.

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