This is also a time for stock-taking. Under two months of reading left in the year. So how balanced a reading diet have I been consuming.
My target is usually to read a mix of about 50/50 between non-fiction and fiction. I try to alternate so my balance remains close and the palate fresh. Somewhere in there, I also try to fit in books of the self-help / personal development variety. Books that I know are good for me, but often make for painfully boring reading. The reading equivalent, in other words, of eating my broccoli.
So where do I stand for the year? A quick scan of Brick and Rope posts and my bookshelf shows this:
In the first ten months of the year, I have been able to read about 40 books - 16 fiction, 17 non-fiction, 2 servings of broccoli, and about 5 genre books.
Quick side note: All my snootiness about genre novels not withstanding, I do tend to read and re-read a lot of Agatha Christie and P.G.Wodehouse. That is most of what ends up going into that last category.
A reader recently pointed out that in recent weeks, my reading has been fiction heavy. That is certainly true. September-October was quite a fiction dominated period, which has led me to a non-fiction as my current read (In Fed We Trust is what I am reading right now, alongside a serving of broccoli - The First 90 Days ... more on those in another post). That said, the overall fiction / non-fiction balance seems about where I would like it to be.
In the rest of this year I might get the time to read five, maybe six books. Which would make for a pretty good reading year. I consider it a good year if I get to read about 35 books. A great year would be 50, but that doesn't happen very often at all.
Now to the flip side of getting to this time of the year. My wife and I have an arrangement about my book buying . There are two parts to this arrangement - (1) I buy at the same rate as I read. No building of inventory, if you will. A good friend of Brick and Rope has a spousal arrangement to buy books at 'no more than 3 times' the reading rate. What a sweet deal! When I suggested that to my wife, she scoffed with a 'you wish'. (2) I work within a loose annual budget. That gives me the discipline to search for good deals and cut coupons where I might otherwise splurge .
Here is the thing about the arrangement - By the time I got to October, I was already out of budget. I have maybe two unread books at home. And another serving of broccoli that a friend kindly gifted me. After those? ... County Library, here I come!