Whilst I have little doubt that the web is a wonderful thing, I personally waste a lot of time online reading half-formed, half-baked, off-the-cuff opinions. There are a lot of things that are better said in 300 pages than 140 characters. Unfortunately my mindless clicking online leaves far less room for books than I would like. At a minimum I would expect to read 50 books in a year, unfortunately (thanks to that ever encrouching web) 2009 saw me read a mere 47, or rather, finish 47 books; my shelves are littered with half-read books which if I return to I will feel it necessary to start again from the start.
The work related books: 16 ‘Work’ can be stretched to cover a multitude of subjects that I am interested in, from sociology, through the narrative, to Second Life.
Unfortunately some of the work related books are far less enjoyable. Often (although not always) these were the ones that I had offered to review for a journal and therefore have to struggle through to the end.
The Fiction Books: 12 Curiously my fictional reads of 2009 both started and ended with an Adrian Mole, and there are the usual inclusion of personal favourites such as Grisham and Irving. But beyond that it is a curious selection of odds and ends.
Conclusions Clumped together it looks a slightly bizarre collection, especially the fiction shelves (I believe Mr Majeika was free in a cereal box a previous year), but there again I suppose a lot of people’s do. As with every other year I shall resolve to read far more in 2010; maybe I should also resolve to read better books in 2010.
I have just bought another new book to add to the ever-increasing piles scattered around my flat: Paul Carr’s Bringing nothing to the party: True confessions of a new media whore I bought the book from Waterstone’s online for £6.29 (£6.99 minus 10% for some special offer code they had sent me), as opposed to the £9.99 for one of the shop copies. As Waterstone’s offer free delivery to your local store, that seemed a better option than paying for it to be delivered to my home (at which point I may as well have paid the full price in the shop). The only problem is, Waterstone’s never tell you when an internet order has arrived. They tell you when the order is dispatched, but not when it has arrived in the shop.
Would it really be much more difficult to let people know the book has arrived, in the same way they let you know the book has arrived when you order it in-store? And why do I have to wait for my copy to be delivered when there are three copies sitting on a shelf in-store? The chain of high street stores could give Waterstone’s a great competitive advantage over other online book sellers, but they just don’t seem to be using it to their advantage yet.
On adding the latest book I had read to Shelfari I just realised that I have been a member for almost two years! This is a long time in web years, and there are surprisingly few other services that I have used for as long. I have long since replaced great and popular services like del.cio.us and Bloglines with Reddit and Newsgator, but somehow Shelfari has managed to keep my custom.
So what does two years of Shelfari tracking tell me? Basically, I don’t read enough. Whilst it’s the sort of conclusion most people can draw about themselves without having to track every book they read, it’s nonetheless interesting to put a firm number to our lack of reading. Since joining Shelfari, almost 2 years ago, I have read 54 books. Just over one a fortnight. According to some survey results from 2002 it would put me in the top 20% of readers: - Nearly half of adults had read at least five books or more in the previous 12 months. - Almost one in five claiming to have read 20 books or more in the previous 12 months. Whilst some people would be happy with such a record, as I can legitimately spend hours reading books as part of my job it is pretty pathetic.
I would like to read at least as many books as I buy, and possibly start to make a bit of a dent into the piles of unread books I have stacked-up around my flat. I should therefore probably be aiming at reading 100 books a year, about four times as many as I do now. If only there were a couple more hours in the day