How Much I Read In One Week

I read. A lot. I keep lists of virtually everything I read, whether it is books or short fiction, articles, or blog posts. Even stories that I critique for other writers. And by applying a simply model to all of these things that I read, I have an estimate of how much I read in one week. The estimate:

145,000 – 180,000 words per week.

Here is the model I used to produce this estimate:

   Golden Age reading:    50,000 words
   Book review reading:   50,000 - 75,000 words
   Other reading:         25,000 - 30,000 words
   Stories for critique:   5,000 words
   Blog posts:            15,000 - 25,000 words
   Total                 145,000 - 180,000 words

That’s right, the grand total probably falls between 145-180K words each week. If we assume the average novel is around 90K words, we are talking 1-1/2 to 2 novels worth of reading each and every week. Spread that out over a year and you are looking at between 7.5 – 9.3 million words each and every year. That “other reading” section includes short fiction I read for fun, other books I read, as well as magazine articles.

There are probably people who read a heck of a lot more than that, but I have to say, given the fact that I have a full time job, 2 little kids, as well as my blogging and writing, I’m pretty impressed by how much I do end up reading.

How do I do it? Well…  I do my Golden Age reading on my lunch hour. And I usually have a solid block of time (at least an hour) to read before I go to sleep at night. In between, I read whenever I am not doing anything else. For instance, we had a fire drill at work today. For this drill, we had to evacuate the building and walk to a park down the block, where we waited for an “all clear.” I read during that entire time. Meetings invariable start late in my office. I always arrive on time and can fit in 5-10 minutes of reading before the meeting actually gets started. If I have to stand in line, I am usually reading. Waiting for something in the microwave: reading. You get the idea. I sacrifice mental quiet time for reading.

And yet, despite all of this reading, I always feel as if I am behind in my reading. It’s a little depressing.

I will say one thing: I wish I could write as much in a week as I read in week.

How much reading do you get done in one week?


  1. I think you out do me, Jamie. Estimating blog posts is harder, but I figure maybe 150,000 words between books, stories and blog posts. My weekends can be awfully variable and change the totals dramatically.

  2. Dear Jamie,
    I am curious to know how you count the nb of words you are reading on your various devices? I read on my MacBook, my iPhone, and a Sony eReader. How can I count the words?
    Thanks for all your inspiring posts!

    1. Nelson, mostly experience. The issues of Astounding I read every two weeks are about 100K words each, thus 50,000 words/week. In isseus of Analog, Asimov’s, F&SF, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed on the Kindle App, each story lists the word count on the title page, so that is easy to obtain. For other books I read, there is a rough formula you can use that gives fairly accurate results: number of letters and spaces on a line times number of lines on the page times number of pages divided by 6. But even there, I make rough guesses. The same is true for blog posts. Mostly it’s just experience and knowing how long it takes me to read something. (I think I read between 10-15K words/hour.)

      1. Thank you so much for the hints! Again, I really appreciate your blog. You’ve been the inspiration I needed for going paperless and take back control over a lot of things in my life!

  3. I am trying to fill up my ‘mental quiet time’ with quality reading rather than crap like Facebook and twitter. I always have a book on the go and instead of staying up until 2 am to read, I need to start filling in these little gaps with good reading. Thanks for this!


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