How many good books can you read in a lifetime?

A Writers Notebook

How many books do you read a week? A month? A year? This article for The Guardian by Hugh Ryan puts forth a terrifying concept – how many books you might be able to read in a lifetime, and it’s a lot less than you think.

Eight years ago on Christmas morning, my older brother John casually ruined my life.

“Let me ask you something,” he said, gesturing with his coffee mug at the piles of books we’d gotten as presents. “How many books would you say you read a week?”

“One?” I shrugged.

“Let’s be generous and say you have 40 years left at that pace,” offered John. “One book a week for 40 years, rounded down a little for weeks where work is crazy or you spontaneously go blind, that equals … 2000.”

My brother leaned back in his chair, savouring the moment.

“That’s it,” he said. He…

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