Friday, July 7, 2017

The Miraculous Math of 50 Pages A Day + Summer Reading Update

Woohoo!! It's time for my Summer Reading Update!

For those of you who don't know, I'm kind of terrible at getting through set TBRs and reading challenges. May I present Exhibit A, The Take Control TBR Challenge hosted by Caffienated Book Reviewer back in March and my own EPIC FAIL: or, The Take Control Extension I tried in April (which, sadly, also turned out to be an epic fail). At the same time, I can't resist these lists, because wouldn't my reading life be so much more rewarding and fulfilling if I could actually get through all those books in that set time frame?! The answer is 'yes.'

So how am I doing so far on that Summer Reading List 2017? Of the titles I set for myself I have so far read...

Brace yourselves, people.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
The Best Blades (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

And I'm currently reading:
Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars)
Battlefront: Twilight Company by Anthony Freed (Star Wars)
I have to be honest. I'm impressed with myself for finishing four books in June. I know that might not sound like much, but it actually is for me nowadays. I used to be a monstrous-fast reader but I'm just...not anymore. More on this in a minute.

But I'm even MORE impressed that most of these books are straight off my list! If you haven't noticed, I tend to 'add' books to my set TBRs and assure myself that, oh no, I've got plenty time for all of these, and then invariably wind up failing to read most, or any, of the books I actually put on the list. Of these books, the only title not on my Summer Reading TBR is Kitty Hawk, but I had a deadline for it.

Here's what I'm left with:
Randoms and Rebels by David Liss
The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir
The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
*Bonus* My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

That's 9 books to read before the end of summer and already I'm clutching my heart in dismay.
There's no way I can read 9 BOOKS by then!

Okay, stop; don't panic. Let's think about this logically, Amanda. First, we need to give ourselves a deadline. When does summer specifically end?

According to Google, mankind's ultimate source of irrefutable knowledge and information, summer ends on September 22, which seems pretty far out there considering everyone will be back in school by August, but I'm making an executive decision that my Summer Reading list should of course constitute all of summer and conveniently ignore the fact that technically summer didn't even start until June 20. This leaves me with 79 days to read 9 books.

This sounds completely doable, right?

But no, actually, because my reading routine is like this: I read before bed. I switch on my lamp, crack open a book, snuggle into the covers -and inevitably doze after four pages or so.

Some ravenous reader I am. Long gone are those monstrous-fast reading days of my youth, when I had nothing better to do than read seven or eight books in a week. Dang it, I miss those days.

But there's got to be a solution here somewhere, and this is where my loathsome though occasionally useful antagonist Math will enter the equation. At four pages a night, for 79 nights, I will have read a whole whopping 316 pages.

That is maybe one average-sized novel in two and a half months.

Go ahead and let the full, absolute horror of that calculation sink in. I know I did.

With that horror, a sudden understanding also came to me, because all of my reading frustrations were suddenly explained. No wonder I haven't been getting through the stacks of books around my room! No wonder I can't finish any challenges or TBR lists! No wonder I get so frustrated with my small and pathetic 'books I've read this year' lists.

And what does a book dragon do when suddenly faced with the truth of her supposedly 'voracious' reading habits? This, ladies and gentlemen, is the part of the show where I pull a trick out of my magic hat.
My current read, Specter of the Past, is 386 pages, and when I realized it would take me more than three months to read it, I knew that was not happening.

I'm working my way toward the New Jedi Order series -which is somewhere around 26 books long- and Specter of the Past is serving as my re-entry into the Star Wars EU. I want to read it and I want to read it fast, because I don't even want to know how long it would take me to read a 26-book series at 4 pages a day. I refuse -absolutely refuse!- to do that math.

My solution? I'm forcing myself to read 50 pages a night before bed.

Forcing, she says. Forcing herself to read.

It sounds dramatic but, guys, it's actually true. I don't know if this is the longest reading slump in my life or if I've merely trained myself to go to sleep after reading four measly pages, but that is what my reading habits look like. Or, should I say, looked like.

Right now, I'm killing it with this 50 pages a day thing. In 4 days I've read 246 pages; I'm already halfway done with the book! I'm ridiculously proud of myself right now. You can laugh if you want; even writing this I know it all sounds kind of stupid, but this is why I fail the reading lists and challenges I set up for myself. I don't read enough anymore and I have not become consciously aware of it until writing this post.

So let's go back to that Math:
50 pages a day for 79 days
3,950 pages

Holy sanctified bovine.

Even I wasn't expecting that number to be so high. That's... That's enough time to read both The Count of Monte Cristo and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel. TWICE.

That's more than enough to get through 9 books! Why on earth haven't I done this math before?! If I read 50 pages a day all year that's 18,250 pages. 18,250!

My gosh. I feel liberated and idiotic at the same time. Look, even Boromir is speechless!
Do you have any idea how many books that is!? Neither do I! But suddenly, at 50 pages a day, this seems like a totally realistic to me.

Right. 18,000 pages in a year just became my new life goal. But before I head off to read my 50 pages for the day, I want to know:
On average, how much do you read a day?
Do you apply slick and suave Mathematics to realize you could actually read your supposedly 'endless' TBR during your lifetime?
How are your summer reading goals going?


  1. Yay for book math!! Isn't it amazing how something can seem so impossible until you break it down and then ... voila! Good luck---I hope you stick with it!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. It is! I'm really going to try my best to keep with it. Thanks, Nicole! ^_^

  2. You know I have no idea lol how much I read in a day, but yeah when you break it down like that. Some days I read a lot, some days I don't at all, and some days Netflix gets me and steals my reading time... dastardly Netflix. But now I'm curious! I should keep track for a week and see how it breaks down. :)

    And that is very ambitious to read the whole New Jedi Order series, I hope they're good. I'm still making my way through the first Zahn books but I'm enjoying them.

    1. Dastardly Netflix! Is there a more common threat to reading than the lure of binge-watching?! I'm now determined to track my page count for the rest of the year, just to see how much I can read rather painlessly. *fingers crossed*

      Yay! So glad you're enjoying Zahn's stuff! My understanding is that the NJO has a huge impact on the Star Wars EU; most of what is loved about the EU comes from those books. I've always wanted to read them, but now I actually have hope for that ambition. XD