I’ve Officially Read 100 Books Today, Here’s How It Looks Like

By Eli Francis via Unsplash

On one of my days of free-musings (a.k.a. boredom), I have set a goal to read 100 books until 2020. In a stroke of luck, I finished it a few years ahead of schedule. Below is a pseudo-scientific attempt to make sense of the experience. Enjoy.

Criteria

The books should contain all of the following characteristics:

  • Not required by any school/work/organisation that may gain benefit from my reading of the book
  • Not less than 100 pages
  • Not have a font size greater than PECFD in the generic eye exam
  • Finished from cover to cover excluding pages that don’t have page numbers (i.e. Table of Contents, Introduction but on page xii)
Only PECFD and below is included

Breakdown

Since the stat-freak in me can’t resist creating a totally uncomplicated excel file for this, you can check out below.

102 books in total

A grand total of 102 books spanning 8 years (2009–2017). Most read book genre is self-help (Note to self: maybe I need to seek professional help at some point?). Followed by business, science fiction, then fantasy.

If you prefer looking at fancy graphs:

Oooh fancy

Graph Ramblings

There seems to be a transition between preferring non-fiction books to fiction books in 2016 — why is that? Shameless answer is because the list is starting to build up to a hundred and fiction books are easier to read. A more sophisticated answer would be, I wanted to exercise my mind on creativity and imagination. Choose the answer that sits well with your own sensibilities.

Favorites (in two words)

  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman - Apocalyptic comedy
  • 1984 by George Orwell - Chills. Now.
  • Stranger in a Strangeland by Robert Heinlein - Interesting taboos
  • Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun - Surprisingly useful
  • Replay by Ken Grimwood - Thanks. Again.

Musings

  • Anyone can do this. Seriously. If you look back on the line graph (See colorful figures), you can see that I’ve started reading on 2009 with 2 books. That’s 600 pages over 365 days (1.6 page a day). Hardly average, let alone fast. But time has a way of making things grow exponentially. It is for radioactive decay as it is for reading books.
  • Reading only non-fiction books makes you lose your imagination. Focusing on technical, pragmatic stuff tend to hamper creativity. Though like learning a bike, you can get it back.
  • Fiction often tends to be more beautiful in the books than in movies. In Harry Potter for example, the pensieve (the black bowl that allows viewing of thoughts as if you’re in it) is highly immersive in the imagination. Of course, action movies are much more awesome in the screen, but what are you gonna do.
  • Reading takes work. There’s an additional layer between the words of the book and the thoughts that are produced in your head. There is some processing and imagination involved. The bad thing is it uses more energy (as opposed to watching where your eyes automatically understand the images). The good thing is during this processing, your brain does a ton of stuff — correlating past knowledge, filtering incoming data, incorporating new knowledge. It exercises your brain, or if you hate that it trains you to judiciously choose what you put in your head.