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Of the BBC list? Perhaps a dozen. But that list has a LOT of really bad or boring books. I've read over 20,000 books. I average at least one a day -- I have read two Brad Thor books since I got up yesterday evening ("The apostle" and "Foreign Influence"). I still have every one of them that wasn't borrowed. My daughter is starting to read some of them. I read "Gone With the Wind" and loved it - in the 3rd grade (its also what lead me to getting unlimited borrowing privileges in grade school ).
There are some great books, but not that many "classical" books are great. There were some good - even great - books written in the past (I love Sherlock Holmes, for instance) - but most of Charles Dickens' books are complete crap. While there are a huge number of garbage books written today, some far eclipse anything written in the past. Especially once the publisher's page limit was broken a few decades ago.
"most of Charles Dickens' books are complete crap"
Books, and reading, like guns and computers, are morally neutral.
They can be used for good or ill, or to no purpose.
Reading the back of the Kellog's Corn Flake packet every morning for 20 years is not, IMHO, going to do much to "improve your mind".
Reading a Mills & Boon romance novel every day may have an impact on your mind, but not necessarily a good one.
Anyone who can couple the two quotes above with "I've read 20,000 books" seriously doesn't get it.
And how can you read 20,000 books with stumbling, even accidentally, into some of the really great classics?
By my calculation, assuming you are less than 50 years old, say 45, and that you started reading novels in your teens, say 15, then you have been reading more than two books a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
As a keen reader myself, I wonder how you keep the supply?
First, I started reading before 5, got into heavier reading around 7 (starting with Gone With the Wind) and am over 60 now and retired. I was probably the only kid who wrote to Tom Swift, Jr. instead of Santa Claus! I read very fast and always have (not rushing it, just my natural reading speed). When I was working, I would typically read half a book during lunch and the other half over dinner. Frequently more after dinner. I have never watched much TV. Don't even have one right now.
So far today, I have read two theses on logic, half a dozen papers on logic and half of a Brad Thor (Hidden Order). Yes, I have had enough time to read 20,000 books. I will frequently find an author I haven't read before (latest, Brad Thor - so far, all of them are excellent) and buy all of their books and read them all, back to back. I am currently reading about a half-dozen books - some online and some physical. I stopped buying magazines several decades ago. The stories are just too short. Even entire books tend to be too short. I really like a good, well-plotted series.
Before I retired, I typically spent several hundred dollars per week at various bookstores and online. I had one bookstore clerk tell me that I was buying too many books! I categorize my books by the room, not by the bookshelf or even book case.
Sure, I have read some "classics". I have read some Shakespeare (none of which impressed me), all of H.G. Wells books, Sherlock Holmes, etc.. The H.G. Wells books are dated but pretty good for early teens. I love Sherlock Holmes, including the modern takeoffs. But, just because an author published books 150 years ago, and their books are now "classics" does NOT make them good books! I have much higher standards than most "classics" can meet. I especially loathe Dickens' books. I have (unfortunately) read several and have not found a single one worth reading. Even worse is the "Great Gatsby" and "Lord of the Flies". Yes, I have read both "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. Not bad, but there are much better romances written today.
How can there not be? In the 1800's there were only a few authors, outside of the "penny dreadfuls" (which I have never seen, but would like to). Now, there are 100s of thousands of authors. Even if 99.9% of them are wasting ink - that still leaves 100s who are turning out incredibly good books.
I don't judge a book by when or by whom it was written. I judge a book by how I like it, how simplistic or complex it is (excessively complex does not necessarily mean good, but excessively simple usually means bad). Is it good entertainment? That is, after all, the purpose of fiction. If someone writes a book to draw attention to some circumstance, it is rarely a book really worth reading. Most books that win "awards" or are "coffee table books" are complete crap. Most of what David Webber writes is very good. The "War of Light and Shadow" series by Janny Wurts is extremely good. Shame we only get a new one every 4 or 5 years. Today, many authors are not writing a single book at a time, but a very involved and complex series of books spanning multiple arcs. The quality that goes into some of those is incredible.
There are very few genres I haven't read. Not really fond of horror. I read far more than fiction. Just my computer / mathematics books fills around 8 7' x 3.5' bookcases. I taught myself Topology from Nicolas Bourbaki in high school.
I started reading before 5, got into heavier reading around 7 (starting with Gone With the Wind) and am over 60 now and retired.
So that's just over 20000 days worth of lifetime during which you've read. So you'd have to average at least one book a day to get your 20000 mark to calc.
Member 11816776 wrote:
So far today, I have read two theses on logic, half a dozen papers on logic and half of a Brad Thor (Hidden Order).
So then the 20000 books includes non-fiction, documentation, etc. Do you count stuff like novellas as a "book" as well? What about short stories? If so, then I can definitely believe your numbers - but a 200 to 600 page fiction novel each day? Really?
I don't count novellas, short stories (not really much difference), newspapers, catalogs, etc.. Those are usually bathroom material. I also don't count individual technical papers, but certainly 200-300 page PhD theses DO count. Each of those is equal to a couple of normal books because you have to take them much slower. Not that I read one of those every day or even every week.
I always have at least two books in my "bag" when I go out. I have a directory named "papers" which contains technical papers across dozens of subjects that I have downloaded and read. There are around 16,000 papers in that directory. I have boxes more of physical papers that I copied out of journals before I could get (some of) them off the web.
Of course, I count more than fiction. Naturally, the vast majority of that is fiction. I find that reading a new non-fiction book can be just as entertaining as reading a fiction book. Surely, reading a non-fiction book counts as "expanding the mind?". Or is that something you only do when necessary?
But, "a 200 to 600 page fiction novel each day? Really?"
Yes, really. And, I usually find time to get in 10-12 hours a day for working on my current project plus the usual life overhead. Do you read so slow that would be a problem? Why do you have trouble believing me? Do you need a remedial reading course? I am neither lying nor exaggerating.
Reading is THE most fundamental skill that you can have. If you can't read well, quickly and with comprehension then you will be behind in life. We home-schooled our eldest daughter. We delayed her education by a year just to focus on reading. It worked. She is a young adult now, but she has been able to read everything regardless of difficultly level. Home schooling consisted mostly of handing her a book, telling her to read it and do the exercises. We checked the results and answer the occasional question where the books weren't clear (mostly in mathematics). Whenever she became interested in a subject, all we had to do was to buy her a few books (always, always, get more than one viewpoint) and she was off to the races.
I tend to not do speed reading for pleasure - I "read" things like novels without even noticing that I read it. I.e. I "live" the story, not noticing that I turn pages or any such. I find it much more enjoyable doing so - that is the main reason I read fiction, not to better myself, but because I enjoy it.
However, it also means I don't complete the book as fast as when I speed read. I.e. a 200 page book would take me 2 to 3 hours, instead of a few minutes of speed reading. But I have too much other stuff going on to allow for much more than a few hours each day (between 10 and 18 hours, minimum of 5 days a week, of full time actual work - no breaks other than a few minutes as coffee break). I then make up for it my hitting some extended reading session (usually over weekends) where I would complete several books over the course of two days.
Pretty much the same here. I don't speed read for pleasure and no point in it for highly technical material.
However, having learned the hard way at the famous school specializing in those lessons, I make a point of taking breaks, not to overwork and even take naps as appropriate. It may seem like a waste of time, but it is actually more productive and results in fewer errors. I also mix in mountain hiking which is a good way to relax and work on a problem. If I get a bit stale intellectually, I up the hiking and fiction reading (or reading on a completely unrelated topic).
Since, I don't watch TV and my interests ARE what I do (which intrinsically involve considerable research), I do get a lot of reading done.
Nah, just copy it it in and hope for the best. Don't even change the variable names and placeholder constants. Then in a new question say that the code is broken because instead of printing "Hello, world!" it prints "Hello world" and ask for someone to fix it.
I would say if you are copying raw code, then yes, you need to understand it.
Libraries on the other hand are something I do not fully study in depth before I use. Learn the interface and I'm away. Purist could argue that you should fully understand the inner working of all code in your system, but who has the time to do this in a commercial environment?
BTW - big fan of commit strip, hit's the nail on the head with surprising consistency.
Into the beers, Bundy OP to come and currently have the vegetables baking in the oven, steaks on the stove and the lamb leg steaks, bacon and sausages to come.
"I controlled my laughter and simple said "No,I am very busy,so I can't write any code for you". The moment they heard this all the smiling face turned into a sad looking face and one of them farted. So I had to leave the place as soon as possible." - Mr.Prakash One Fine Saturday. 24/04/2004
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