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Have you have considered the books you’ve read? I mean, beyond just saying “Oh, well, I read science fiction and fantasy” or “I’m a fan of biographies”? When I first started to think about this as few years ago, I just assumed I was a well rounded reader. Turns out, not so much.

For several years, I have tried to actively keep track of the books I’ve read. There’a word file on my computer that lists every book, the date I completed it, and which number it was the year I read it. For me, this is different than using a site like LibraryThing to catalog my readings. Those sites have ISBN numbers and set formats for titles. Additionally, there’s some work involved any time you add a book because it may or may not be the date you actually finished it. Certainly, it doesn’t account for when I picked the book up. Still, it’s useful for getting specific information, even if at time there may be too much information.

Instead, I have a world document. This document is titled 52 Book in 52 Weeks. That title being the goal. Below is an example list. So far, this is the only year I have successfully completed 52 book in 52 weeks. Normally, I tap out at anywhere between 35-40 books. Sometimes more.

Week                                                                                    Title                   Date Finished

  1. Mists of Avalon by Mary Stewart                           02-25-2010
  2. Percy Jackson – The Lightning Thief                           03-06-2010
  3. Percy Jackson – The Sea of Monsters                           03-07-2010
  4. Percy Jackson – The Titan’s Curse                           03-09-2010
  5. Percy Jackson – The Battle of the Labyrinth                           03-10-2010
  6. Percy Jackson – The Last Olympian                           03-12-2010
  7. The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones                           04-04-2010
  8. The Mortal Instruments – City of Ashes                           04-08-2010
  9. The Mortal Instruments – City of Glass                           04-12-2010
  10. The Lesser Kindred                           06-12-2010
  11. Redeeming the Lost                            06-16-2010
  12. SotINF – The Alchemyst                            06-22-2010
  13. SofINF– The Magician                            06-25-2010
  14. Sookie Stackhouse 01 – Dead Until Dark                            06-30-2010
  15. Sookie Stackhouse 02 – Living Dead in Dallas                            07-02-2010
  16. Sookie Stackhouse 03 – Club Dead                            07-06-2010
  17. Sookie Stackhouse 04 – Dead to the World                            07-09-2010
  18.  Sookie Stackhouse 05 – Dead as a Doornail                            07-11-2010
  19. Sookie Stackhouse 06 –Definitely Dead                            07-12-2010
  20. Sookie Stackhouse 07 – All Together Dead                           07-13-2010
  21. Sookie Stackhouse 08 – From Dead to Worse                           07-14-2010
  22. Sookie Stackhouse 09 – Dead and Gone                           07-17-2010
  23. Sookie Stackhouse 10 – Dead in the Family                           07-18-2010
  24. Slam – Nick Hornby                           07-21-2010
  25. SotINF – The Sorceress                           07-25-2010
  26. SotINF – The Necromancer                           07-29-2010
  27. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 01 – The Capture                           08-11-2010
  28. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 02 – The Journey                           08-16-2010
  29. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 03 – The Rescue                           08-18-2010
  30. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 04 – The Seige                           08-25-2010
  31. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 05 – The Shattering                           08-29-2010
  32. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 06 – The Burning                           08-31-2010
  33. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 07 – The Hatchling                           08-31-2010
  34. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 08 – The Outcast                           09-01-2010
  35. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 09 – The First Collier                           09-01-2010
  36. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 10 – The Coming of Hoole                           09-02-2010
  37. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 11 – To Be a King                           09-03-2010
  38. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 12 – The Golden Tree                           09-21-2010
  39. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 13 – The River of Wind                           09-23-2010
  40. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 14 – Exile                           09-25-2010
  41. Guardians of Ga’Hoole 15 – The War of Ember                           09-26-2010
  42. Google Speaks by Janet Lowe                           10-06-2010
  43. The Wheel of Time 01 – The Eye of the World                           12-03-2010
  44. The Wheel of Time 02 – The Great Hunt                           12-09-2010
  45. Worth the Wait – Tale of the 2008 Phillies                           12-28-2010
  46. The Wheel of Time 03 – The Dragon Reborn                           12-31-2010
  47. The Wheel of Time 04 – The Shadow Rising                           01-06-2011
  48. The Wheel of Time 05 – The Fire of Heavens                           01-13-2011
  49. The Wheel of Time 06 – Lord of Chaos                          01-19-2011
  50. The Wheel of Time 07 – A Crown of Swords                          01-28-2011
  51. The Wheel of Time 08 – The Path of Daggers                          02-04-2011
  52. The Wheel of Time 09 – The Winter’s Night                          02-08-2011

What I’ve noticed from this list are a couple of things:

I tend to read in chunks. I’m not sure why this is. But there will be months where I read everything and anything I can get my hands on. Only to suddenly stop for a month or two. That’s fine. Focusing on specific tasks always happens. There’s also an element of burn out. When I read so much so often, I feel the need to take a break. Sometimes, a sense of needing to complete the series I’m reading will take over, but it’s close.

I also noticed that I read a lot more fantasy and, as it will turn out, science fiction, then I had previously imagined. In fact, only 3 of the books I read in those 52 weeks were not fantasy. Not sure how I feel about that. See, I don’t particularly like fantasy or science fiction any more then another type of literature. In fact, my favorite books tend to not involve fantasy and science fiction.

The closest I can imagine is that since I love science fiction TV, mostly Star Trek, my peers assume that’s what I want to read and only recommend scifi and fantasy books to me. This particular proclivity is especially annoying. The other is that many of these books don’t require as much attention. That isn’t to say that Wheel of Time or Guardians of Ga’Hoole are poorly written. They aren’t. It’s just that compared to a book like Slam, which is more literary in nature, they don’t quire much thought.

You’ll notice also, that several series “Guardians” and Percy Jackson are Young Adult novels. That means they’re shorter and targeted at a younger audience. I have no problem considering those books. As long as the story is good, there’s no difference between those and the disastrous Sigma Force novels I’ve read. The real key is story. Some books have it, others don’t.

There’s also a list of books I put down without ever finishing. After all, there are too many good books worth reading. So, yes, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love reading other stuff. But that enjoyment, at some point, seemed to translate to everyone else as “only get this”. Except my parents. They keep getting my interesting books. “Gideon’s Trumpet.” is one of those books. I’ll explain later.

For now, always be aware of what you’re reading, You never know when it may come in handy.

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