16 Books (and Counting)

Earlier this month, I finished reading my 100th book for the year. It is the second year in a row that I have read at least 100 books. Last year, I read 130, and I don’t think that record will fall this year. However, yesterday, I set a new reading record for myself: I finished my 16th book in a single month.

Last year, there were two occasions on which I read 15 books in a month, October and November. So far, this November, I have read 16 book. I will likely complete one more book before the month is out, but it is unlikely I will finish the book that I started to read yesterday before the end of the month: Don Quixote.

The last two pages of my reading journal contains a chart and some tables where I keep these stats. I am looking forward to inking in the final number for November on Sunday morning. (The photo was from late October before I finished the month. The count in the October 2019 box is 13 books.)

The last two pages of my reading journal.

Looking at those pages gives me some sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I note that the last month in which I read nothing was January 2015, and the last month I read fewer than 5 books was September 2017. Last year I hit double-digits in 8 out of 12 months. This year it’s half that so far.

I think the chart also demonstrates I am something of an optimist. It captures my months reading stats through 2045. In 2045 I’ll be 73 years old, which still seems like a long way of. All told, the chart covers 50 years of reading. Next year will mark 25 full years that I’ve been keeping my list/journal. It will also be the year that I surpass a total of 1,000 books read since starting my list in 1996.


  1. Congratulations!
    How do you manage to take the time to read such an amount of books? Is it only in print or audiobooks too?
    And do you really dive deep into the text or is it kind of fast reading challenge. Each turning page counting…

    Thank you very much for your answer.


    1. Susanne, I joke that my default idle is reading. If I am doing nothing, I am reading a book. Audiobooks have made a big difference because I can listen to them while I do other things. Also, over the years, I’ve increased the speed that I listen to them. Listening to an audiobook at 1x sounds funny to me now. For fiction, I’m just looking to be entertained. But I read a lot more nonfiction than fiction. If I am reading a paper book or e-book, I mark them up as I read, underlining and jotting notes in the margins. It allows me to converse with the author and it makes the book mine.Still, there was a time that I felt I wasn’t quite getting enough, so I started to make notes on each book I read in my reading journal. That, and a pretty good memory makes it work for me.

      The counting is just for fun. I started keeping my list back in 1996, and just kept going with it. It’s fun to count and look at the stats, but that’s all it is.

  2. Congrats on the epic book count.
    I found it peculiar that you chose to increment the BPY axis of your chart by 7.

    1. Chris, the 7-count axis was an artifact of wanting to use the full page, but figuring out a practical limit to what I could probably read in a year, and then dividing it by the number of squares. I was uneasy with 7 myself, but that is how the math worked out.


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