About six years ago Google counted the books in the world and come up with 129 million plus. This figure has been updated by others, not entirely scientifically, to more than 134 million and counting.
An average person reads 200-300 words per minute. At this rate, someone (with math skills greater than mine) has calculated it would take 60,000 years to read every book currently catalogued in the Library of Congress.
Nobody has that kind of time. Certainly not me. I have other things to do. So I compensate.
I read book reviews and familiarize myself with at least what the editors of The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books and the The New York Times Sunday Book Review section, think is worth reviewing and possibly reading. Also ads in these publications are often a good source of of information for new books.
In 2013, more than 300,000 books were published in the United States. Assuming that number remained steady in the ensuing years, selecting those to be reviewed is a formidable, awesome and challenging task.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, I reviewed books for the Sunday edition of The State in Columbia, S.C. The office of the editor over-flowed with books stacked in open bookcases, on the floor and still in unopened packages. I can only imagine what a corresponding office must look like in New York and London.
At this point in my life I prefer to devote my reading to non-fiction works, concentrating on memoirs, and books on world affairs and international issues. I do make one exception: Alan Furst, an American author of fifteen historical spy novels dealing with the period 1938 to the late forties. His is the last book I could not put down.
What do you like to read? I would be interested in hearing from you. Send comments to: email@example.com.