A Reading List to the Grave

I recently met up with an old friend from schooldays, and the conversation turned to our respective reading habits.

“I average about three books a week,” I said.  “How about you?”

“I’m lucky if I read three books a year,” he replied.

This got me thinking.  Both of us are into our middle-age now; given a fair wind and no madness from Russia, I might be expected to live another thirty years.  At a rate of reading three books a week that means I could still read another 4680 books in my allotted span.  Less than 5000.  It doesn’t seem like a whole lot given the wealth of literature out there.

But what about my friend?  Averaging three books a year, he’s left with only ninety books to choose before he sees out his days.  It is a scarily small number.  It would impose such pressure on each reading choice; you wouldn’t want to waste a single selection on a duff book.

Even my seemingly rather generous 4680 cap has got me worrying.  Should I start to make a list of ‘must-reads’?  Should I stop re-reading books that I have already read before?  Should I abandon some of my more frivolous reading matter to make way for more ‘worthy’ tomes?

In the end, I decide you can’t live like that.  I will continue to read what I like, when I like; not treat each book as though it is one more stepping stone closer to the grave.

Time enough for that when I am down to the last ninety.

© Fergus Longfellow

Fergus Longfellow ponders what to read for #4679.

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