Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Dilemma: How to Read More Books

The young man in front of me was checking out at 15 books about extinct animal and plant species in North America. I had to stand for several minutes as the librarian scanned and stamped each one. Then she took my one DVD and Sheldon and I left the library. As we were leaving I told Sheldon: "I know that boy is not going to read one fourth of those books. The more books you check out the less you read." Sheldon asked me to explain my reasoning. What follows is Lucy Rose's Book Theory.

If Reader A checks out 2 books and Reader B checks out 4 books, then Reader A will end up reading more. Reader B will go home and open up Book 1. He will read only the first chapter or so before he decides that it is not quite the thing. So he will pick up Book 2 and read halfway through the introduction. A few hours later he will mosey on over to Book 3 and read the back summary and a few random pages. He won't even get to Book 4.

But Reader A who only has two books will open Book 1 and get partway through the first chapter. He will be a bit bored so he will try out Book 2. This one is also not super engaging. He will go off and fiddle about with the dishes and eat a sandwich. Then he will return to Book 1 and give it another try even though he originally thought it was boring. He will do that because he only has two books to choose form, so it is easier for him to make a commitment.

So my theory is that he who has less to read will always read more. An example of this is how before I went to college I had very little mandatory reading. So I read a lot of books. I would plow through a novel every two weeks or so, because I had little to distract me from finishing it. But when I got to college I was given a dozen reading assignments per week. Instead of reading and concentrating on one thing, my attention has been split between many books, essays, poems and treatises. I feel like I don't actually read anything anymore, even though many words technically pass before my eyes.

To be continued...

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