Monday, December 31, 2018

Reading in 2018

This is the year in which I made one key change to my reading habit which was influenced by a post from Tim Urban titled ‘The Tail End’. The gist is the following. I manage to read at roughly the rate of a book a month, and I turned forty recently. So even if I live to be ninety, I’m going to read around 600 books more. Millions of books have been written and catalogued and there are thousands more to come in my lifetime, but the sobering conclusion is that I only have time left to read 600. That insight destroyed an enduring superstition that most booklovers seem to carry, which is to persist with a book once you have started it. This year I abandoned books ruthlessly but here are the ones I managed to complete.

Three remarkable books by three different authors hailing from different parts of the globe.
Though I started this piece with how limited my overall reading time is I still reread two classics for two reasons. First, the key to reading productivity is to read what you like and there’s no better test of likability than to know that you’ve read it once and liked it. Second, there’s always more value left to derive from the truly great classics. I read Slaughterhouse and 2001 nearly a decade after I first read them and it was as refreshing to read them now as I remember feeling back then. One thing to note was how little I remembered of the details in each of these books that I professed to like, and I now realise, the primary aim from good fiction is to be affected by it, and not to remember details.

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