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Saturday
Feb062016

My Book Challenge - Update

After eleven days how far have I got with my challenge to read only one book at a time? Well, I’ve stuck to the rule with Andrew Roberts Napoleon the Great, but progress has been slow. This is partly due to the fact that the book is much longer than I expected it to be, but also because it is very detailed and dense. It is most emphatically not the sort of book one can read as a novel!

I’m now on page 132, which is a bit over eleven pages a day. I’ve read roughly 46,000 words - about the length of The Great Gatsby, which I read last year and, as far as I can remember, took me only three or four days to read.

I’m beginning to think that it would make more sense to have one fast book and one slow book going at a time, rather than just one book. I don’t think this would necessarily make the slow book go any slower. The trouble is that most of the books I want to read are slow books!

Reader Comments (3)

I'm watching this thread with interest, although reading's probably my favourite leisure pastime I read fairly methodically and slowly and often wonder about ways to strike balances between edification, pleasure and quantity/productiveness. (I also have Roberts's 'Napoleon', in my to-be-read pile, so interested to hear your thoughts.)
February 7, 2016 at 15:13 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Cumming
How about dividing large or dense books into "volumes" (defined as sizable chunk that has a certain logical coherence - about the length of a typical novel (e.g. G. Gatsby)) before you start?

Your challenge then is to read a book *or* a "volume" to the end before you may start another. This gives you the discipline, but helps avoid getting bogged down as you never have something excessively long/dense in hand. If you feel like following with another "volume" of the same work that's fine, but if you could do with some variety you're free to change to another book (or "volume" of another book).

[N.B. Important to decide that the volume approach is appropriate for a particular book, and do the dividing up, *before* you begin, otherwise you'll be tempted to invoke it whenever the going gets tough and the sense of discipline will be undermined.]
February 7, 2016 at 19:58 | Unregistered CommenterDafydd
Dafydd:

Yes, that sounds a sensible approach. Many large books are already divided into parts, so it would be easy to treat these as units. For instance the "Napoleon" book has three parts. I'm at present a little over half-way through Part 1. I think being "over half-way" is considerably more motivating than being "about a fifth of the way through"!

My only reservation is whether I will ever come back to the book once I stop reading it. The whole idea of reading only one book at a time is not to have loads of half-finished (or less) books.
February 7, 2016 at 20:07 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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