Hitting the century mark

Back in late 1975, I started keeping a list of books I’d read each year. I added to the journal whenever I finished a book but didn’t keep a running total, simply adding up the year’s total each December 31. Over the last decade or so, I’ve been running about 10 either side of 60 per year. I was surprised last night when I counted up 2007 and discovered I’d read 101 books during the year, more than ever before.

So what did I read? Not surprisingly, SF was the leading category with 27 titles. Right behind was fiction, with 26 titles, of which nine were translated works. I think the fact those account for half the books contributes to the large number I read. Between the two categories I can think of at least half a dozen offhand that took me only 24-36 hours to read. The only other area that reached double digits was a combination of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, which totaled 11 among them. I also read six books about hockey.

I also attribute the record number to the fact that for the first time in years I didn’t have a child involved in school athletics or club volleyball. That freed up a number of nights and weekends that were otherwise occupied traveling to or attending those activities. Yet while part of me loves the additional free time, another part misses the interaction with the kids and parents.

I’d like to think the year contained had quality, not just quantity. To help along those lines, my first book of the year is one for the Russian Reading Challenge.

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.

Edward P. Morgan, Clearing the Air

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