Laughter and books make life a little easier

Reading surprises

Sometimes, reviewing your old reading habits can surprise you. Sometimes you’ve forgotten about books you used to love, or sometimes you come across a book again and you can’t believe that you used to love it.

Or then, sometimes, just your actual reading statistics can surprise you.

In the beginning of the year, I was looking at my “year in books” on Goodreads. It was pretty normal stuff… number of books read: close on 60… I knew I hadn’t entered every single book I read during the year (especially not those I reread for the fifth time), but it’s a fairly accurate statistic. I take my Goodreads very seriously.

Then I clicked on “number of pages read” and things changed…

Reading in 2013-001.jpg


Sixteen thousand pages?! How is that even possible? What is sixteen thousand pages even supposed to be?

But looking at all those books, I had to agree that they probably could be 16,000 pages put together. There were a lot of thick books there.

Reading in 2013 (2)-001


According to the little pie-chart thing that Goodreads so kindly provided, most of those books were stuff I read for class. Yeah, I didn’t cut the names off like that, it was that way when I got there.

That, at least, wasn’t surprising. I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised either that there were so many more books than any other year that I’ve been recording these things. Last year’s course was way different and more intense. Where we would spend about a week on a Shakespeare play before, now it was only one class. For another single period we had to read the entire Twilight Saga. I referred to that as my “2000 pages of torture”. I’m still looking for some of the brain cells that ran away during that time.

It’s so weird to see all those moments resurface in reading statistics. But still, the biggest question remained: how much is 16,000 pages really?

I did the math and worked out how high 16,500 pages would be if stacked in one pile (I rounded it down for easier sums as I am rusty at math). Then, for scale: I am 1,6 m short. (How much is that in feet? I don’t know. Ask Google.)

Reading in 2013


Together, all those books form a pile that is nearly a metre high. Against me this is almost 2/3 of my own height. It is high enough that I got bored drawing that stack of books.

This just keeps blowing my mind over and over. I complained a lot while reading all those prescribed books (and last year’s blog posts will bear witness to this), but I never realised what it all amounted to. I didn’t even read all the books I was supposed to read. Now I’m even more interested in reading statistics than before! 😀

How much do we really read in our lives? We think of books as things that fill bookshelves, but how much space do they really fill in our brains? How much of our lives are really taken up by the things that we read?

I’m going to go read now and ponder this some more.

Tomorrow I finally get to go see Frozen, which I’m very excited about.



PS. Do you still have a little room in your life for a 3D desktop calendar?

You can head over to my origami blog now to make one for yourself! 😀

9 responses

  1. Nico

    hey what is your average review??? mine is 3.31 on goodreads… a third the way from “I liked it” to “I really liked it” What about you? A lot of your books you ‘have to read’ so maybe it’s less, but maybe you’re a generous reviewer…

    January 27, 2014 at 08:36

    • Mine’s 4.22. But I’m generous, most of the time. I think I’ve only once given a book one star.
      Actually, it’s the other way round. Yes, I have to read most of the stuff I do read, but actually that makes my ratings higher. My literary training has made me appreciate all kinds of different genres and helped me to better understand them. Even if I find a book boring or too long-winded, what we discuss in class helps me see the other side of the book as well, which makes my ratings higher.
      I didn’t even give the Twilight Saga one star, much as I hated reading it, because I did like one or two chapters out of each book. It has a few good points, just massively overshadowed by bad writing.

      February 1, 2014 at 13:54

  2. That pile of books reminds me of when I was a ridiculously ambitious middle school kid and would borrow from the library far more books than I was capable of reading in time. (I’ve never been a particularly speedy reader.) My book pile looked just like that!

    January 28, 2014 at 01:26

    • Yeah… I worked in the school library and I hated everyone who did that because they’d all bring back those huge stacks of books on the very last day of term and then I had to stand there and check them in one by one. Manually – there was no electronic system. You searched for each card out of a whole drawer of them, marked them off, put the card in and sent a minion to put it back on the shelf. It took forever! 😛

      February 1, 2014 at 13:43

      • Oh, that must’ve been a pain! But in my case it was an electronic system, so it was no big deal for the librarians to check them all back in.

        February 3, 2014 at 01:01

      • My school wouldn’t have spent money on the library if they could’ve used it to upgrade the sports facilities. 😛

        February 3, 2014 at 22:25

      • Ah, it wasn’t my school library. It was the public library! My school library was small and no one really used it. 😉

        February 4, 2014 at 03:42

  3. keep writing keep reading!

    January 28, 2014 at 20:23

    • That’s the plan! 😀

      February 1, 2014 at 13:38

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