Weighty tomes

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Reading eminent WordPress blogger Justin Tadlock’s latest post on his goals for 2011. The first — to read more — should be on everyone’s list, of course, but it’s interesting that Justin quantifies his target. Two books a month seems an achievable target, doesn’t it?

It depends on your reading. What are you reading? Is it long? Is it ‘difficult’? How well do you read — do you skim, skip sections or chapters even? Are you reading novels, history, books about HTML5, other non–fiction? When can/do you read? Are you tired when you read? Do you read between changing nappies? Do you read on the way into work? On a train? On the toilet? Late at night? In a chair? In a bed? Are you lucky enough to have long days free for reading?

I read serious literature (natch) and, at the moment, it all appears to be pretty long. My current book is Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and recent novels include Anna Karenina, City of God and Austerlitz; all weighty tomes. What’s more I like to think I read properly; never skipping a word, re–reading sentences and paragraphs, checking back for events, names and images. (Aside: Did I read badly in my teenage years and at university? I certainly read more. I wonder if I took whatever I wanted from a book and discarded the rest.)

Two books a month? Sounds a lot to me. Let’s see by keeping a list.