Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How do you read so much?

I don't. Many folks read a lot more. I've worked in fulltime professions that do not allow literary reading on the job. I've also wasted more of my free time than I like to admit watching TV and browsing online. I have also had a family, a semi-active social life, and involvement in social causes. Most days I catch an hour or two of reading and every now and then I binge-read for, say, a weekend.

Although I did read more as an adolescent, most of the books I devoured then were adventure tales, mysteries and space westerns. Each year now I get through about forty books that are interesting enough that I jot down observations about them for myself. Mainly novels, some short story collections, a bit of poetry, the odd play.

About half of those might be on The Greatest Literature of All Time list. That's fifteen to twenty of the one thousand "greatest" books per year. Do the math and you'll see that it'll take a long lifetime to get through all the books on the list. (And by that time the list will have changed.)

I also read lots of less serious fictional books that I don't make notes on. I've read every single one of the 150-something mysteries by Erle Stanley Gardner (mostly Perry Mason stories) at least once and most of them two or three times. The writing may be hackneyed but I enjoy the plots as intricate puzzles.

I go through many other detective procedurals, lots of science fiction, occasional espionage thrillers and the odd historical romance, most of which I enjoy but don't consider noteworthy.

My nonfiction input is another ten or so books a year, mainly in science and philosophy, with a little literary criticism, a bit of history and the odd juicy memoir, usually related to music.

So I suppose my annual total is well under a hundred books of one kind or another. More than average, I imagine, but less than many of the voracious readers who are perusing this page.


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