Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Rules: What Counts?

This is not a good way to start. I can’t see a blessed thing. I went to the eye doctor and got my pupils dilated and now the world’s a blur.

Good news: New glasses prescription will make reading easier and I will look cooler while I do it, with new frames.

Bad news: I couldn’t see well enough to choose new frames. Or to read the printout of the health insurance benefits to see if I could even afford the new frames.

So, spending the rest of the day reading is clearly out – which bring up the question – do audiobooks count? What counts and what doesn’t?

I think I will fine-tune this as I go along, but here are the general outlines I came up with:

1 – Any type of book is fine (fiction, non-fiction, etc).

2 – book must be longer than 100 pages to count

3 – audiobooks count, as long as the original print book is longer than 100 pages

4 – stuff I read for work doesn’t count, even if it’s printed (since I read “reports” and not “books”)

5 – must finish the book to count it.

My husband and I tossed this last one around for a bit. He says he has been known to read more than 100 pages of a book, then put it aside and not finish it. Does that count? He wants to know.

I mull this. I find this incredibly patient, which I have always known he must be, but now I have more evidence. I don’t think I have ever gotten more than 25 pages into a book that I disliked, unless it was assigned reading for school, and even then I mostly faked it with Cliff Notes and a few choice passages. In college, I once got an A on an oral report I gave on James Joyce’s Ulysses, of which I read the first four chapters. It is possible to pull a detailed set of examples supporting your thesis from the first four chapters of Ulysses … and the book is so long that nearly any thesis will work, although the four suggestions at the back of the cliff notes work fine too. One of my classmates said afterwards, “I knew you hadn’t read the book, and you made me believe you had. Amazing.” It’s a memory of great pride and shame, coupled with relief that I will never have to actually finish reading Ulysses. It’s a great work of literature, and I admire it immensely, but that’s as far as it goes.

But for purposes of this project, I think “faking it” is sort of self-defeating; and anyway, the project is really about motivating myself, and since I will know I haven’t read the book, I am thinking I must have finished it to add it to the list. So, excluded from the count will be books for which I: read the plot summary on Wikipedia (Harry Potter 7); only see the movie (Harry Potter 3-6); skip ahead to the end because I don’t really like the book but I want to know how it turns out (most mysteries, and the aforementioned Ulysses).

If I read up to 100 pages, I tell my husband, I imagine I’m committed to it. Usually I can decide far before that.

“What if you can’t?” he wants to know.

“Well, I guess I’ll decide when it happens.”

Further guidelines will be decided as needed. My husband and 9-year-old daughter will cast the deciding votes over dinner, so there's no cheating.


  1. This sounds great! And it's good that your family are involved too. Snazzy stuff! :) Do you have a list of To-Reads?

    Rosie of BooksAndBakes

  2. Thank you Rosie! I will see if I can figure out how to post my To-Read list - it's endless! And I am taking suggestions :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...