Econstudentlog

A storm of swords

I read 400 pages today. It’s quite good (4.51 average rating on goodreads), like the prequels. It’s also quite long, 1177 pages. As I pointed out before, the page count should not scare you off – it’s easy to read and there are lots of chapters so it’s easy to split it up into chunks. However there are chunks and then there are chunks; given the number of characters and the number of different storylines, I’d assume it’s probably easier to read it in one go than it is to read it over a long period of time. It’s much easier to remember who character X is if you first encountered him 6 hours ago than if you read about him two weeks ago, and there are a lot of Xs here. Also, if you were to read a book like this in segments of, say, one chapter (10-20 pages) per day, it would literally take you months to finish (78 days with a 15 pages/day reading scheme) and I consider it likely that it would be a very different experience from the one you’d have if you were to read it over a short period of time (a few days). These remarks naturally also apply to the prequels.

Incidentally, according to a very brief blog overview I just did this one will be the 25th book I read this year. I’ve sort of told myself that it would be nice to cross 50 books (52?) this year – that should still be quite feasible, even though the current rate (6 books during the last fortnight, and as mentioned 400 pages/day right now) is not exactly a long-term equilibrium.

I’m probably reading too much fiction these days. Oh well, my reading speed is not very impressive and I tell myself that reading fiction at least helps with that…

June 19, 2013 - Posted by | books

8 Comments »

  1. I read about 30-35 books a year, but that’s only including non-fiction.

    Comment by Emil | June 24, 2013 | Reply

    • (It’s not a competition…)

      Comment by US | June 24, 2013 | Reply

  2. Haha I set a target of 50 books on goodreads too. Am a little past the 50% mark despite reading quite slowly because I read a couple of graphic novels earlier this year. Two were really good – one fictional work ‘Stitches’ and another, non-fiction, is ‘Understanding Comics’. You might consider this strategy if you want to hit the target faster, if at all.😉

    Comment by Nia | June 26, 2013 | Reply

    • (It’s still not a competition…🙂 )

      “I set a target of 50 books on goodreads too” – I should point out that I have not set a target on goodreads…

      As to your suggestion: Nope, not going to do that. I don’t think I’ve read a graphic novel since high school and I read very few back then, and so I’m not planning on starting again now. Another factor is that on my mental map of reading materials graphic novels don’t belong in the ‘book category’ (note that I’m not arguing against you applying a categorization strategy where they do).

      The arbitrariness of it all, especially when it comes to the categorization procedure and what actually constitutes ‘a book’ (or perhaps: what ought ideally constitute a ‘book equivalent’?), makes me not take the ‘goal’ very seriously. I don’t see why books should be all that special – ‘papers go through peer review whereas anybody can publish a book’ (I don’t think all that highly of the peer review process, but be that as it may…) – and ideally my goal should involve all kinds of reading, not just books. To illustrate how absurd a single-minded focus on the # of books read may be: I had a course this semester where I read something like ~40 (?) papers; I spent close to 20 hours on just one of those papers because I had to do a class presentation about it (it involved some ugly math/econometrics I was not super familiar with…) – which is way more time than I spent on e.g. this book. Another course I took covered approximately half of one book. So on a related note, even a book is not always ‘a book’ – even disregarding the whole question of ‘book-equivalents’ from the analysis, there’s still the problem that a book can be many things. Some books you can read in an afternoon, others contain so much stuff that a couple of competent professors can’t even cover all of it during an entire semester’s worth of lectures.

      If I happen to not get to 50 (52?) books because I decided somewhere along the way to read a few interesting papers instead of some short ‘filler novels’, I don’t exactly expect to feel particularly bad about that outcome. But it’s nice to have a ‘goal’ to aim for (so I guess I should decide at some point if it’s 50 or 52 I’m going for…). Roughly a book/week felt like an appealing ‘goal’ and although it’s not a particularly hard ‘goal’ to game it is what it is.

      Incidentally lately I’ve been thinking that I spend too much time reading and too little time interacting with others socially. I have other goals besides the ones involving books. When I’m reading my books I sometimes forget this…

      Comment by US | June 26, 2013 | Reply

      • Does audiobooks count as books in the competition?

        Comment by Stefan | June 27, 2013

      • Yeah it is rather arbitrary. I set myself that target to try to force myself to read more. I haven’t set aside much time for fiction, or non-fiction unrelated to my degree at all, for a few years.

        Now I read a lot more articles than books, and they are almost always related to a course I’m taking. I make it a habit of writing a review and some comments of everything I read and it’s a pity I can’t do that digitally with articles on the same platform as I review and comment books I read. Goodreads is good enough for now, I guess. I’m unlikely to need to refer to articles again in the long-term, since I don’t intend to go into academia or do much academic writing after I graduate, if at all.

        I’d written “I set a target of 50 books on goodreads too”, intending to modify “setting a target”, instead of “setting target on goodreads”, with the “too”.🙂

        Comment by Nia Nymue | June 27, 2013

      • “Does audiobooks count as books in the competition?”

        (Upvote for the deliberate use of the word competition in the comment…)

        You can set whichever criteria you like. I believe the last time I listened to an audiobook was in the late 80es or early 90es, so this is not a book format I feel the need to have much of an opinion about.

        Comment by US | June 27, 2013

  3. “I make it a habit of writing a review and some comments of everything I read and it’s a pity I can’t do that digitally with articles on the same platform as I review and comment books I read.” – Why not collect that stuff on a blog – that seems like a suitable platform to me? Or is this not the kind of solution you have in mind?

    “I’m unlikely to need to refer to articles again in the long-term, since I don’t intend to go into academia or do much academic writing after I graduate, if at all.” – I believe that many discussions people have with each other might benefit from the knowledge hidden in academic papers nobody seem to be reading. Also it’s interesting to learn new stuff and good papers are a great source of ‘new stuff’; and if you don’t keep track of that new stuff you’ll forget so much of it again and be unable to use the knowledge you’ve obtained. Many of the articles I read are unrelated to anything which might be ‘useful’ to me in a strict sense (career, etc.), but keeping track of that reading material still seems to me like a very good idea. If/when I graduate and get away from the academic world I may no longer need to refer to articles on a regular basis, but I’ll have a desire to do so anyway because it’s nice to know stuff, which gets a lot easier if you keep track of the things you supposedly know.

    Comment by US | June 27, 2013 | Reply


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