As the Page Turns (the Book Thread)

snoopy

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Ran across this quote from James Mattis:

“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.”
I wonder how many people read books, and I wonder if this is the problem of our times in a nutshell. We certainly seem not to see past our own noses anymore.
 

Prancer

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I wonder how many people read books
What do you mean by "read books?" One book ever, one book a year, one book a month?

Do we only count it as reading if that reading involves a book?

and I wonder if this is the problem of our times in a nutshell. We certainly seem not to see past our own noses anymore.
Because everybody used to read voraciously?
 

snoopy

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Well the Mattis quote I referenced said hundreds of books so hundreds and yes books. Perhaps we do read fewer full fledged books than we did 50 years ago due to the internet. I don’t know. I think narratives are more powerful influencers than facts and could change hearts more readily.
 

clairecloutier

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I was just chatting with someone this week & he said he had not read a book in 2 years. He used to read more books, but now spends a lot of his time online. He estimated he spends half his online time reading about the news or his hobbies and half his time watching YouTube videos.
 

Japanfan

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I wonder how many people read books, and I wonder if this is the problem of our times in a nutshell. We certainly seem not to see past our own noses anymore.
In my experience, a lot of people do not read books subsequent to graduating from high school or university. Granted, my sample is small, so my experience is not evidence of anything. I would be interested to learn what percentage of the population reads books, and how many books per year 'reading books' means. Mr. Japanfan reads a book every few days, although some of those books are simple, and some are just bad, and he doesn't pay attention to the details as I do - for example, I will go back through a mystery book searching for one single detail that becomes important later in the book.

I have no idea whether reading books correlates with reading articles on the internet. But I would think it does, as the attention needed to read a book is not so different from the attention needed to read an article, especially an article that is detailed and long.
 

Prancer

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Well the Mattis quote I referenced said hundreds of books so hundreds and yes books.
I asked because that isn't the question usually asked about reading; surveys generally ask about the amount of time people spend reading for pleasure rather than the form that reading takes.

So none of this will actually answer your question, but here is something about the latest surveys on the subject and what such statistics mean: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/why-we-dont-read-revisited

There is some research from Pew on the subject, which says that the average American reads four books a year, among other things.

What neither article quite addresses (but others I have cited in the past have discussed) is that there is a strong correlation between people who do not read often for leisure and our prime working and child-rearing years. The people who read most in modern societies are the young and the old; who else has the time and mental energy?

I think that if there ever was a period where the majority of the population read a lot (which I consider quite doubtful), that time was very brief. Because who had the time and mental energy and literacy?
 

Susan1

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So, back to books - Danielle Steel's The Dark Side. I had to finish it last night. It's not the usual Danielle Steel. Not romantic or ongoing family drama through the decades. It's "dark"!
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
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I've started a series by Jen Blood about a woman search and rescue dog handler. There is an element of supernatural suspense in that the protag and her teenage son are empaths and see and hear ghosts that play a part in their rescue. All of which is fine, except the author makes it seem like a big surprise to the characters every time. I don't know if this is her way of creating tension and suspense, or she thinks the reader forgot the previous times this happened. But the SAR stuff is interesting. The first book is The Darkest Thread
 

puglover

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So, back to books - Danielle Steel's The Dark Side. I had to finish it last night. It's not the usual Danielle Steel. Not romantic or ongoing family drama through the decades. It's "dark"!
Just wondering if you recommend it? I am totally amazed she has anything more to write about after so many so that thought alone intrigues me.
 

Zemgirl

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Just wondering if you recommend it? I am totally amazed she has anything more to write about after so many so that thought alone intrigues me.
And just think, Steel is nowhere near as prolific as Nora Roberts. Though I'm sure there's someone out there who's published more books than Roberts.
 

clairecloutier

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Back a while ago, I mentioned a book here called American Nations by Colin Woodard, which was about different regional cultures in North America, and some people were interested in it. The bibliography of that book referenced some other titles about NA regional cultures; and I recently picked up and read one of these titles. It's called Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, by historian David Hackett Fischer. The book is about 4 of the groups who originally founded the American colonies--the Puritans in New England, the Quakers in Pennsylvania, the Cavalier colonists of Virginia, and the borderlanders (often called the Scotch-Irish) who settled Appalachia. The book is a tome at 900 pages and it took me a while to read it, and some might find it a bit academic, but I have to say that I highly recommend it if you're interested in the subject matter, it's really good.
 

PrincessLeppard

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I'll go back to books in a second, but I believe that James Mattis quote is in reference to Donald Trump, who, by many accounts, never even read a book in high school or college. According to a review I read, Mattis never actually comes out and directly criticizes Trump in his new book; many of the criticisms are veiled like this one.

I'm currently reading another YA book, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, and parts of it have actually made me laugh out loud. I'm not done yet, though, so I'll let everyone know if it suddenly gets overly heavy at any point. (It has that potential, so...)
 

Susan1

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Just wondering if you recommend it? I am totally amazed she has anything more to write about after so many so that thought alone intrigues me.
Uh, yeah \/
I had to finish it last night. It's not the usual Danielle Steel.
It was on the 7 day shelf and the cover grabbed my attention.

Apparently not, even if you count Patterson books written by other people.
I guess we can't count Robert B. Parker's books. All three of his series have been written by other people since he died in 2010. Sorry to say, I like them better. More content, less blank space on the pages.
 

Zemgirl

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Alexandre Dumas
Possibly by page count.

I guess we can't count Robert B. Parker's books. All three of his series have been written by other people since he died in 2010. Sorry to say, I like them better. More content, less blank space on the pages.
He wasn't anywhere near the numbers of Patterson, Steel, or Roberts anyway.

So far the most prolific author I can find is Dame Barbara Cartland.
 

Susan1

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Possibly by page count.


He wasn't anywhere near the numbers of Patterson, Steel, or Roberts anyway.

So far the most prolific author I can find is Dame Barbara Cartland.
just real quick first lines from Wikipedia
Patterson - 147 since 1976. I guess that includes the ones he "writes" with someone else, and the kids books and everything.

Parker - 70 between 1973 and the one published after his death in 2011 (40 were Spensers). 13 by other authors since he died.

Nora Roberts - 200. I didn't look to see if that included the ones written under other names too.

Danielle Steel - 173 - 149 are novels.
 

Susan1

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Just wondering if you recommend it? I am totally amazed she has anything more to write about after so many so that thought alone intrigues me.
Don't read the reviews or the synopsis. It's described as a "psychological thriller", so I knew it was going to be different, and I was still surprised at almost halfway through it. Couldn't put it down. If you are expecting the usual rich beautiful woman, husband dies, she finds a new career and falls in love and lives happily ever after in Paris - forget that!
 

Prancer

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So far the most prolific author I can find is Dame Barbara Cartland.
Barbara Cartland's output always makes me think of Stravinsky's (undoubtedly apocryphal) assessment of Vivaldi: "Vivaldi did not write 400 concertos; he wrote one concerto 400 times."
 

Garden Kitty

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I just got my copy of Louise Penny's latest book, A Better Man - although I probably won't read it until my vacation later in fall. I will always have a special appreciation for Louise Penny. My parents really enjoyed her books and I took them to hear her speak and have a book signing twice (it was an overnight trip each time, but they really enjoyed her books and liked her even more after they heard her speak).

when my Dad was really sick and going into hospice, he joked that he was sorry he didn't think he'd live long enough to read her next book which was due to be published in a few weeks. I sent an email to the "contact me" link on her website, asking if there was any way to purchase an advance copy and explaining the situation. That same day her assistant responded that they would overnight me an advance copy. The next day I received the sweetest email from Louise . When I gave my Dad the book, he commented that it was like being with old friends even though he was in the hospital.

I will always appreciate their kindness, and it's just such a great reminder of the power of books to transport us to another setting.
 

nlloyd

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I recently read and enjoyed the novel Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry. The title is a pun on the opening bell at the stock exchange; the author worked for twelve years as a Wall Street investment banker. After quitting her job Sherry enrolled in an MFA at Columbia and this novel is one result of that change of direction. Among other things, it provides an intriguing account of the Wall Street crash of 2008 as it unfolds within the work and consciousness of one woman, an investment banker who is simultaneously attempting to juggle work and family and to deal with the sexism of the industry. This was a new, fresh take on the crash for me, and I enjoyed Sherry's knowledge of her subject along with the unexpected twists and turns in the plot. It's not a heavy read by any means, but it is well informed.
 

Japanfan

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The people who read most in modern societies are the young and the old; who else has the time and mental energy?

I think that if there ever was a period where the majority of the population read a lot (which I consider quite doubtful), that time was very brief. Because who had the time and mental energy and literacy?
Mr. Japanfan reads a book every few days and has for all the years I've known him. However, he is not particularly fussy about what he reads, some of which is fluff, and doesn't pay attention to details as I do.

I read a lot too, but do at times find myself in reading droughts. To deal with that, I keep a list of books to read. But sometimes they disappoint. I am happiest when I'm reading a series and get familiar characters and the writer's style.
 

MacMadame

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I used to read continuously. Several books a week, sometimes 2 in one day. These days I do pretty much all my reading in a web browser. I still read constantly but it's all articles. I'm not sure I could summon up the patience for a full book. I still haven't read Y is for Yesterday which I bought over a month ago! (Though part of that is fear that it won't be very good.)
 

gkelly

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I also read far fewer books than I did pre-Internet.

During grad school the ratio was more for study and less for pleasure, but still a lot of books.

Now I maybe read 10-12 novels per year, in hard copy. At my peak maybe I read 100 in a year. That won't happen again.

Lately I also read unpublished novels for critique groups/classes. How would you count that?
 

Artistic Skaters

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My recent reads --
- Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand. This is the first book I've read by this author and I can't recommend it. Of course I selected it because it was about the summer of 1969. I thought it would be a nostalgic trip down a path of wonder and magic since a main POV is through the eyes of a thirteen year old girl and the chapters are named after songs from the era. Instead it was a lot of ho-hum family problems of the affluent Nantucket folks that included issues of the day on a very superficial level. Let's just say not the 1969 I remember.
- Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger. An interesting and timely mystery because it has a Jeffrey Epstein-type character who is a focus during the investigation although we never actually meet him; and also a look at immigration issues. An FBI agent returns home for the first time in a decade to dispose of her police detective father's ashes and estate. She is asked to help investigate a possible serial killing and considers her father one of the suspects. I generally prefer private detective mysteries and can do without the FBI BAU novels, but I liked the protagonist with her complicated past in this one.
 

Erin

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My recent reads --
- Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand. This is the first book I've read by this author and I can't recommend it.
I went on a big Hilderbrand kick a few years ago and found her to be quite hit or miss. I liked The Castaways (the first book I ever read by her) and Silver Girl, but most of the rest ranged from forgettable to really bad (I think there was one called Beautiful Day that sticks out in my head as being the worst although I can’t remember enough of the details enough about it as to why I hated that one specifically).
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
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Last night I read The Body in Question by Jill Climent in one sitting - it's not a long book, but at the same time I could not put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime :)

You may have heard of this one as it got a lot of buzz in the past few months - a pair of sequestered jurors embark on an affair - but there's a lot more to it. Some disturbing themes, some perhaps too close to home for some, but a compelling read. Will have a look at the author's other books and see if anything strikes a cord.
 

PrincessLeppard

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I just finished the second book in the Unwind series. I didn't realize it had become a series (yes, I realize I'm really late on this) and now I need the third book. Like, right now. But I also don't want to get off the couch.

I hope it's at the school library. I'll pick it up tomorrow.
 

quartz

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Erin Morgenstern (Night Circus) has a new book coming out in November and this will be my most anticipated book purchase of the year. :cheer2:
 

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