I’ve never been much of a consistent reader. I usually have short spurts where I burn myself out, and then I go on without reading for a while. When I write “reading,” I don’t mean reading the news or the blogosphere, but usually either academic articles or non-fiction books (I’m not much of a fiction reader; I’m not sure what was the last fiction book I read after high school). So, starting in June, I decided to record my reading to see how much of it I got done, and to motivate me to improve those numbers. I wish I would have gathered statistics for the entire year, but that’ll have to wait for the end of 2013. Even though there’s technically three days left in the year, I doubt I’ll get that much reading done over the weekend, so I’ll publish the “statistics” early.
I actually have done better than I thought I would. I used an Excel spreadsheet to record the number of pages I read, then going back to classify whatever I read based on four categories (economics, political science, journal article, and book [the latter of which includes monographs]). When deciding the amount of pages, I left out numbered pages that nobody reads (indexes, bibliographies, and sometimes notes, if I didn’t really read through them), but I included prefaces (usually numbered with roman numerals) and the like — basically, what I’d read. It’s not perfect (some half pages count as full pages, including pages with figures and tables), but it’s what I have.
I admit that a lot of the reading was “forced:” for class. This includes countless academic articles and a number of the books I read. I’m not sure I’d get this much reading done otherwise, but I guess we’ll have 2013 to test this prediction.
In total, between June and December 2012, I read 5,574 pages, including 17 books and 71 scholarly articles. Of the 17 books, 2 are related to political science and the rest to economics. Of the articles, 36 are related to political science and 35 to economics. 299 pages (which is surprisingly low) correspond to my literature review on identity and nationalism in Cataluña. Of the 5,574 pages I read, 2,474 — or, approximately 44 percent — was for class. If I were to maintain this pace (34 books per year), it would take about 6 years to finish all the books in my personal “library.” In other words, I’ll have to pick up that pace.
Coincidentally, a Facebook friend posted a status on reading, and one woman wrote that she reads an estimated 200–300 books per year (which is “[n]ot nearly as much as [she] used to”). I’m sure many of my readers have similar accomplishments. I just can’t keep up with that pace, so I’ll be happy with 50 (in my defense, non-fiction books tend to be a bit more difficult to read than fiction books — although, ironically, probably not as well written —, and warrant more meticulous reading to remember what you’ve read).
Here is my reading, broken down by category,