Book Length is Relative

A new year, a new chance to renew my goals from the year before. As I’d mentioned a while ago, my reading goal really got off track at the end of last year. (Though in hindsight, it just meant I read about 5 fewer books for the year than I’d planned, which doesn’t feel like nearly as big of a deal.) However, with a new semester that’s hopefully less chaotic than last semester, I’m trying to get back in the swing of everything. That includes reading.

Often when I need to read a book quickly, I pick one that’s not very long. My initial plan at the beginning of this year was to read a few short books, just to get ahead of things. So it might seem fairly odd that I instead chose to reread the entire Wheel of Time series. The books are on average over 800 pages each. You’d think that I couldn’t come up with a worse way to “get ahead” on my reading for the year.

But I’d just watched the TV season, and it made me really miss the books. I grew up with them, after all, and I’ve never actually read the series the whole way through at once. The last time I read the first 11 was back in 2009, when I read them all before Brandon’s The Gathering Storm was released. The final book didn’t come out for another three years or so, but it wasn’t like I had time to reread the other 13 before I read that one. So I threw caution to the wind and started reading them anyway.

I’m halfway through the third book already. The pages are flying by, and I’m having a blast.

If I had more time, it would be interesting to look back at the books I’ve read and calculate a page per day average for each of them. (I keep track of when I finish books, and I generally start a new book the same day I finish one. Though there are some books I start and don’t finish, which would throw this off some.) My guess is that for books I’m really enjoying, I read quicker. Not that it’s that stunning of a guess, but I’m also thinking the difference is significantly greater than I’d think at first glance.

And me being me, I had to take a moment to go make a formula for the Google Sheet I use to track this, just to see if my hunch was correct. And . . . it definitely wasn’t. I mean, generally speaking there’s a trend. For books I loved, I sometimes was reading them at a 300+ page per day clip. But sometimes that wasn’t the case, and sometimes books that I didn’t like, I still read quickly. I imagine there’s just too many variables for me to capture. How busy was I at the time? How dense is each page? Words per day would be much more accurate than pages per day.

Anyway, the big takeaway for me is to remember not to be afraid of book length. Enjoyment has a much bigger impact on how long a book feels for me. If I’m having a great time the whole time, what do I care if it takes me longer?

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