31 March 2014

The Ghost of April Fools' Past


Today marks the last day of the TBR Triple Dog Dare. This is the annual dare that James throws down at the end of each year. The point is to dedicate the first three months of the year to reading only those books in your possession by midnight of December 31st of the preceding year. Over the three or so years I have accepted the dare I have done pretty well even if some years were a little failure adjacent. And no matter how you define success I have enjoyed how the dare encourages me to dig up long neglected books and actually read them. Over the years I have discovered some real gems hiding on my shelves. Although this year I haven't really discovered any gems. (I did read some gems by Brookner, Graham, and Pym, but they were by no means languishing in my TBR so I can't credit the Dare for those.)

As many of you will know, this year I decided to extend my participation in the dare through the end of November when our house project will be done. The point was to not bring any more books into our temporary apartment. I was trying to keep things light and perhaps even get rid of some books. I haven't been particularly successful. I accepted an ARC (which I didn't like and didn't finish) and I have purchased one or two titles that I have already read and three or four more that I can imagine I will read before the end of November. I guess this means I haven't been particularly successful this time around, at least by the letter of the law. On the other hand, I have focused on my TBR and will continue to do so for the remainder of the year despite any slip ups here and there. After all, of the 13 books I have read so far this year 11 of them were from my TBR.

As most of you know, I have been having a slowish reading year. Or have I? I decided to go back at look at my reading progress for the first quarter of each year dating back to 1994 when I first started keeping records. The data confirms that it has indeed been slowish.




It was 2004 when I really began to focus on keeping my reading above 52 books a year. If I look at that 10-year period this year is the third lowest. The lowest was 2012 when I read a measly six books during the first quarter, but at least then my excuse was I was in the process of researching and writing a book.

Since the number of books read per year ranges from 3 in 1994 to 111 in 2013, I thought it would be interesting to see how my first quarter progress stacked up as a percentage of total books read in one year.



In order to calculate the average I tossed out the 67% and 10% outliers. The result was an average of 28%. Using that average I can extrapolate that I will read 46.4 books this year. That is unacceptable. I am going to have to get reading. If I fall below 52 for the year, it will be a dark day indeed.

6 comments:

  1. Considering all of the things going on in your life and a frightful winter in which to do them I think you have done amazingly well. I need to get onto my high horse and quit procrastinating reading blogs and things about books and read the books! Always enjoy your posts.
    Travellin' Penguin

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    1. After a 4-day experiment not using FB and Twitter and cutting way back on TV, I discovered that all the other tumult in my life isn't the reason I am not reading. It is FB, Twitter, and TV. Am modifying my behavior accordingly.

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  2. I love your graphs. I just did the happy dance at lunch for all my children singing, "It's April 1st, it's April 1st, the Triple Dog Dare is over!" I feel unshackled to read the many that have snuck into the house since January 1, and I have a new-to-me compulsion to go visit the library. :) All that said, I appreciate James putting this out there every year, as it really does help me to discipline myself to reading from my own shelves.

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    1. Although I technically failed this year, I am not champing at the bit to go find other books. Still pretty content to whittle away at the pile.

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  3. Hello Thomas:

    It is by chance that we have come across your most intriguing and interesting blog(s) on account of a comment left by you on a recent post of our dear friend, ASD.

    And what interest lies here. It is indeed so refreshing to discover a serious book collection [we have spied at your book room and house alterations] and to come across someone who enjoys many of the same writers as we do ourselves. The TBR appears somewhat daunting and we do admire your progress over the years. We shall much look forward to future posts and have signed as Followers.

    Greetings from a warm, sunny springlike Budapest.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. It is always nice to meet new friends. I've just had a quick peek at your blog and had trouble pulling myself away from pictures of the Villa Massei.

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