Reading Log #2: August 2013

imageAnother month gone means another round of useless reading statistics.  On the plus side, I did read much more in August than I had in July.  I’d like to think that was due to the books being much more interesting rather than a desire for more “impressive” stats.  You be the judge…

In August I finished five books, the same number as in July:

1.  Temple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors (2013)
2.  Wave by Sonali Deravinagala (2013)
3.  Beware of Cat, And Other Encounters of a Letter Carrier by Vincent Wykoff (2007)
4.  In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block (1976)
5.  Time to Murder and Create by Lawrence Block (1976)

Nice variety of books here – a historical novel set in twelfth-century Angkor Wat, a memoir of the Boxing Day tsunami’s aftermath, a humorous account of a mailman’s career in the upper-midwestern U.S.A., and the first two ‘Matthew Scudder’ series novels by my favorite author of crime fiction.

Still, this doesn’t tell the complete story of what I read over the past month.  I also made some (but not much) progress in Sarah Dunant’s fictionalized account of the Borgias — Blood & Beauty — and read another chapter or two of H.W. Brands’ The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin.  I read about the same amount in A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin but am now over halfway finished; I hope to finish it before the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” premieres next March.  And I made significant progress in The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, an excellent anthology edited by John Joseph Adams that I stumbled across several months ago.

I also started reading several more books:  A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor (a B2S “discovery” — I snapped a photo of the cover in the bookshop and downloaded the ebook when I went back downstairs to teach at ECC); A Brief History of the Vikings by Jonathan Clement (thus fulfilling a long-held desire to know more about the Norse raiders and increasing my understanding of the recent TV series); and, finally, Raymond Benson’s well-done The James Bond Bedside Companion (I grew up on the original Sean Connery and Roger Moore films but have only read two of Ian Fleming’s novels).

All of this accounts to a total of 1543 pages read in August, a nice increase over July’s 955 but still a drop from the total of 2026 pages I managed back in June.  I read for 2251 minutes, up from 1508 minutes in July.

I have now read 11,642 book-pages in 2013 and have finished 42 books so far this year.  Since my goal is 50 books for the entire year, I am very pleased knowing I am close to hitting that in another month or two.  That’s a total of 312 finished books since I began keeping detailed records in January 2010.  Even more impressive is the fact that during the same period I have read 69,991 pages!  With my current reading-rate, I should top 100,000 pages sometime in March or April 2015.  Care to make a wager?

The only quote I jotted down all month comes from page 172 of The James Bond Bedside Companion — something Ian Fleming once told his friend Ivar Bryce:

“After age fifty, one must really love every day—if one is allowed to.”

Well, I am rapidly approaching the half-century mark myself and can honestly say that I do currently love most, if not all, of each and every day.  In fact, I believe that the past few months have been some of the happiest I’ve experienced.  At the very least, I have been the most contented.


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