Wednesday, January 18, 2006

This from an article by Nicholas Delbanco:

Let's say by a generous estimate that we read a book a week and continue to do so for forty years. This would amount to a little more than 2,000 books, approximately a hundredth of the titles offered by the industry each year. Not to mention those that are reprinted and outlast a single publishing season and the shredder's blade. Or take the extreme and scholarly case; say we read five books a week for fifty years and keep them in our head and on the shelf. This would surely suggest a literate person, yet the number is still small: 13,000 volumes, not the first floor of a library in any self-respecting town. And most of us don't read that much or read that long, and after twenty years or so we might as well begin again for all we can remember of the books we read.

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