I read something pretty mind-boggling this week and it’s this: that generally speaking, you probably won’t read more than 2,500 books in your lifetime. Of course, this all depends on how old you live to be and how much you read in a given year. And it’s also assuming that you don’t get so distracted by the addictive nature of the Internet and waste all your (quite limited) time on Earth browsing mindlessly online. But consider that even reading 50 books a year (after 50 years you’ll have reached the total of 2,500 books read), is a much higher-than-usual amount of reading than the average Canadian will undertake during any given year.
So, 2,500 books. I’ll let that sink in.
Personally, I’ve got a list of exactly 229 books on my library to-read list. And I’m (very conservatively) guessing that I have at least 40 books on my shelves at home waiting to be picked up and enjoyed. (What can I say? I’m an aspirational buyer. No judgement!) So, to finish reading those 269 books, at a rate of 50 books per year, it would take me over five years just to read the books I’ve already purchased or flagged in my to-read list. Even if I read 100 books a year (not outside the realm of possibility for me, but a stretch), I’d still be looking at almost three years. But that’s assuming that I don’t discover more new books to read, and let’s face it, of course I will.
I think I’ve tended to think of time—and stories to fill it—as essentially limitless, so to put a limiting number on my reading life is pretty eye opening. I sometimes wonder if I should cull my to-read list of any books that I’m not super enthusiastic about reading. But that might eliminate books that have the potential to become favourites, or to open my eyes to new genres, styles, cultures and voices. Perhaps I’ll start embracing the practice of simply not finishing books that I don’t like. But as a completist, this rankles. Maybe I’ll learn to be more selective about which books I buy on a whim. Doable, maybe.
Or perhaps I’ll just continue reading and buying books, as others do, as if there’s no time limit.
Yeah, probably that.
What’s happening this month?
You may have noticed that the long-awaited novel Midland, Ross Breithaupt’s debut, is now available. Go on and get your copy ASAP! In other news, we’ve started working on the production of Mark Frutkin’s compelling novel about the painter Caravaggio, The Artist and the Assassin, which we hope to have printed and bound by the end of the month. Both of these novels would be excellent summer reads for anyone who appreciates good literature in a beautiful package.
In the world.
August 14 is National Garage Sale Day. You know what garage sales often have? Very inexpensive books! It’s fun to venture out and see what kind of books your neighbours stock.
August 18 is Bad Poetry Day. I think we should all take a moment to compose a terrible verse or two.
August 30 is Frankenstein Day, in honour of the birthday of author Mary Wollenstone Shelley. Might be time to reread the classic tale!
From the porcupette’s corner…
It’s bibliodata time! Your porcupette has been hard at work preparing book descriptions, author biographies, distribution information and more. I swear the deadlines get earlier every year!
I’ve enjoyed reading and making copious notes on the poetry, short stories and illustrated non-fiction books we’ve got coming in the spring, and I’m happy to report that so far, the authors have all been generally happy with the descriptions I’ve put together. I find it’s a tricky thing to encapsulate a book, and add to that the challenge of making sure it’s compelling enough for a reader to want to buy the book based on said description, so it’s gratifying when not too many rewrites are required.
Up next, I’ll be fleshing out those spring plans a little more in advance of sales conference, then it’s on getting down to business and working on those new projects. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see what’s on tap.
Thanks for stopping by to see what we’ve got going on at the Porcupine’s Quill. Stay tuned as we start to reveal our upcoming spring plans—we’re excited to share with you all of the exciting new books coming your way.
Keep cool, everyone!