So Many Books, So Little Time

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says more than 10,000 Americans suffer injuries yearly due to…books. (Get out of the library while you can!) You’ve no doubt guessed that it’s because people fall reaching for books or try to move too many at once, hurting their backs. Sorting and book sale volunteers, be careful out there.

On the other hand, books are good for your health. Rush University Medical Clinic researchers confirmed that elderly readers often experience slower memory decline than non-readers. A British study found that reading can reduce stress up to 68%. (Unless, of course, you’re reading a daily newspaper.)

Here’s an observation both exhilarating and depressing: “If not a single book were published from this moment on, it would still take 250,000 years for us to acquaint ourselves with those books already written. Simply reading a list of them (author and title) would take some fifteen years.” Gabriel Zaid pointed that out in 2003, by now the statistics would be even more staggering. Put another way, it’s impossible for anyone to read 99.9% of what’s published. Zaid’s book, So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance, isn’t in the Longmont collection, but another with a similar title is — So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading, by Sara Nelson. Add it to the .1% you’re hoping to get through.

So obviously you shouldn’t be wasting your time on the Internet, but still you might enjoy FutilityCloset.com. It’s a database exceeding 9000 short articles on history, literature, language, philosophy, and more. For instance, Somerset Maugham commented on Of Human Bondage: “I began with the impossible aim of using no adjectives at all. I thought that if you could find the exact term, a qualifying epithet could be dispensed with…. [M]y book would have the appearance of an immensely long telegram in which for economy’s sake you had left out every word that was not necessary to make the sense clear.”

There’s never enough time unless you’re serving it. Malcolm Forbes

*Written by Carol Cail — Read more from Carol at carolcail.com
*Originally published in April 2016

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