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.