Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

Word Addiction

Posted by hyperpat on January 12, 2007

Due to some incidents at the house, my wife imposed a restriction on my reading time here lately. This was intended to get me out my normal space, and more into an interactive mode. What’s it’s done is turn me into a something resembling a addict trying to de-tox. Nervous, jittery, pacing all over the floor, with a brain that keeps running around in circles trying to figure out what to do. I mean, those synapses get very upset when they don’t have new input to keep them firing!

Now I normally read at about 450-500 words/minute, occasionally kicking up to about 1000 wpm for certain kinds of material. Coupled with my normal reading time of about 1-2 hours/day, this works out to something like 30 – 60 thousand words a day, which gobbles up the average book in 2-3 days. Which does put a dent in the budget of something like $100/month, as I normally buy all my new reading material in hardback, and the library is hopelessly inadequately stocked with the types of things I like to read (and this doesn’t count the books my wife buys – she may not read as much as I do, but her library shelves are fairly well stocked, too).

So this enforced period of non-reading has saved me a little money, and it’s been an interesting time, filled with more talk and family activities than has been typical, which are not a bad things. It has also meant a little more TV time, something I usually only pay attention to for about two shows/week plus maybe a movie. Which has made me a little more aware of just how much advertising has invaded the network schedule – what used to be 1-2 minute commercial breaks has now morphed into, in some cases, 5 minutes at a crack, by which time I’ve forgotten what was happening in the show. And the average show content just isn’t enough to keep my little brain cells happy, except for a few shows like Jeopardy and Nova.

So I’ll be glad to get back to my normal reading schedule. I’ll just remember to be a little more attentive when other things need to be done or said, and be willing to put the book down at a moment’s notice.

8 Responses to “Word Addiction”

  1. Cyndi said

    Oh no! You need a book swapping or discount book site! I read the average novel in less than 4 hours and bookmooch.com and bookins.com (and the remainder ‘rack’ at barnesandnoble.com) are absolute life savers. I turn into a raving, rambling lunatic without my books. 😛 Good luck!

  2. hyperpat said

    Ah, but that assumes I have books to swap! Which I rarely have, as most new purchases get added to my collection – and they don’t just gather dust, as I have been known to go through and re-read quite a few of them. Discount stores I do sometimes go look at, and used book stores, but that can sometimes be even more expensive, when I run across a first edition of something that I want (I think the most I’ve paid for one of these has been $150, but there was one I was sorely tempted by at $7000 – a mint signed first edition, first printing of Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land).

  3. Cyndi said

    Oh, I never get rid of a book I’ve read. 😉 I peruse second hand stores and thrift stores for cheapie chick lit and then swap those! It’s like turning trash into gasoline…

  4. hyperpat said

    That sounds like a pretty good strategy!

  5. Cyndi said

    a mint signed first edition, first printing of Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land

    Whew – I would be so afraid to own it… I’d be sweating buckets, constantly worried about it. It would never see the light of day and then I’d go and donate it to a charity auction.

  6. Cyndi said

    That sounds like a pretty good strategy!

    Even better strategy: walk up to any woman with a box of books at a yard sale and say “I’ll give you $10 for all your books.” Make sure you have the $10 in your hand and then have a friend to help load the books into the trunk. I’ve come home with 400 trading copies (some I kept because they really were treasures like a 1892 copy of Tarzan and the Ant Men) for less than $20.

  7. hyperpat said

    I let my wife handle the yard sales – and she’s been known to come home with that whole box of books.

    Heinlein’s Stranger holds a pretty special place in my life. Along with his Starship Troopers, I would say that these books did more to change my outlook on life than anything else, including parents, teachers, or any other books. I do own a ‘pirate’ first edition of the book, but I got that for $5, as it’s not in good shape, and without the dust jacket.

  8. Peter said

    I Grok your concerns about reading time (sorry about that). The only time I get for reading these days, is when I am taking public transit into work. Once a week I do a long drive to Newark, NJ for work, and unabridged books on tape see me through that long trek (thankfully my local library has a very impressive collection).
    My book collection has grown, and my wife often teases me about it, and wants me to sell some of them. I like to have them around me, since like you, I go back and re-read them on occasion. I am working my way through 2001,2010, 2061, and 3001 again (on 3001 at the moment).

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