Ack! Did any of you see the LitHub article today How Many Books Will You Read Before You Die? It really puts things into perspective. Since I don’t feel like doing the math, I am guesstimating from the article’s calculations that I have about 2,800 books left to read.
However, I want to quibble with that because it uses average lifespan and unless I am in a horrible cycling accident, I plan on living a lot longer than 85.5 years. I will, after all, be breaking the cycling distance record for the 105-year-old age group which gives me an additional 20 years on top of my estimated 36.5 remaining years. That’s another 1,000 books at least.
While 3,800 sounds like a lot of books, it really isn’t in the scheme of things. When I consider the number of unread books I currently own and the number of books on my TBR list I am already perilously close to my allotted number and that doesn’t even take into consideration books that haven’t even been written yet that I will want to read!
Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at abandoning books I’m not getting along with, but now I think I will give them even less of a chance — 20 pages instead of 50. And I definitely won’t feel guilty. With only 3,800 books in my future why would I want to waste one of that number on something I am not enjoying?
Also, it makes me pause to wonder if I should be more deliberate in my choices. No, not abandon whim entirely, but perhaps temper my eagerness to grab the next book that “sounds really good” instead of the book that has been on my reading table for a very long time. Because at the rate that I’m going right now, the books on my reading table will never be read. What would it mean if I pause before clicking the hold button in my library’s catalog and ask myself, do I want this book to be part of the countdown?
That gives me a chill though because, FOMO. I mean, what if that book might turn out to be the most amazing book ever, a book that changes my life? On the other side of the coin, what if the book I don’t read because of that one had been the amazing book?
It’s a catch-22, which is also the title of a book that I would like to count among the remaining books left me. What if the book I put in a hold request for at the library yesterday ends up keeping me from reading Catch-22?
Oh the reader’s dilemma! It’s a distressing kind of fun. Have you ever thought about what you’d like the last book you will ever read to be? I haven’t, not until just now. I could name some lofty tome, but in reality it will probably end up being Squirrel Girl volume 212 or something equally as highbrow. Maybe I should keep a copy of Finnegans Wake with me at all times and when I feel death coming on I can pull it out, open to a random page and keel over. Will people say I have been done in by James Joyce? Or will they be impressed that I made it to page 406?