# Any avid readers out there?

## how many books have you read so far this year?

• ### more?!

• Total voters
27
maximus
how many books have you read this year? (i'm talking about non-science mainly)

were they good? (i'm always looking for good recomendations)

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Mentat
Well, the years only half-way up, but I've read:

The Bible (which I do every year, at least twice)
The Good Land (which contains a lot of maps, so I don't really count it as a book - it's more of a comprehensive atlas of historical places, with lots of interesting information).
Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett.
The Mind's I by Douglas Hofstadter (I had read this before, but not the whole way through, and I hadn't understood it all, the first time).
The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker.
Darwin's Children also by Greg Bear (it's the sequel to Darwin's Radio).
Le ton beau de Marot : in praise of the music of language by Douglas Hofstadter (actually, I'm still reading it - not quite half-way through).
I'm also reading Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett, and the collective works of Descartes.

Altogether that makes about 9 books.

BTW, if you are an SF fan and are looking for an excellent read, I highly recommend "Darwin's Radio" and "Darwin's Children".

Mentat
Alright, who voted that they'd read more than 20 books so far, this year? That's about my yearly average, and I'm generally considered a fast reader (about 530 pages every 35 minutes). I suppose I could do better than I have been, but I struggle to find even 10 straight minutes of reading every few days (very busy with other things - including studying some advanced Math, recently, which I didn't count in my list of books).

Gale
Alright, who voted that they'd read more than 20 books so far, this year? That's about my yearly average, and I'm generally considered a fast reader (about 530 pages every 35 minutes).

i just put myself in the more than 20 catagory... and i realize this is much after your post... but if your interested..

The Incarnations of Immortality (7 book series)-Piers Anthony
His Dark Materials (3 book series)- Philip Pullman
23 Mercedes Lackey books
Mists of Avalon- Marion Zimmer Bradley
Order of the Phoenix- JK Rowling
The Celestine Prophecy- James Redfield
Teachings of Don Juan- Carlos Castaneda
Catcher in the Rye- JD Salinger
Macbeth- Shakespeare
Hamlet- Shakespeare
The Blue Avenger and the Theory of Everything- Norma Howe
The Marvelous Misadeventures of Sebastian- Lloyd Alexander

probably a bunch more... but i tend to read series more often than not and so i forget individual books a lot.

anyways, you're a wicked fast reader... I'm hardly that fast. I just like reading a lot and usually i'd read about 2 books a week (actually i'd read like 5 one week, then take a week break, I'm sporadic like that, but it averages to probably 2 or 3 a week) I'd sit at home after school and read the whole evening till i went to bed. Also, i was a terrible student this year and i often skipp spanish math and bio to go sit in the library of cafe and read. So it's not that I'm a fast reader... i just devoted a lot of time to reading this year... so far.

maximus
Originally posted by Mentat
Alright, who voted that they'd read more than 20 books so far, this year?

i haven't posted in my own poll, but i also have read more than twenty so far. i'll load them up from my home computer when i get the chance.

and 530 pages every 35 minutes! that's ridiculously fast! (about 15 pages a minute?) i read at a very average rate, but i read quite often (three to four hours a day in the winter).

"To die, to sleep - to sleep - perchance to dream..."

Gale17, what did you think of Hamlet? I find it so vastly incredible; people question Shakespeare, but I find no hesitation in calling him a genius. You can pick up the complete works anywhere and find such beautiful verse, his language is transcendant. The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, Shakespeare's complete works is better than The Bible

Dagenais

Believe it or not, a large majority of people lie when asked this.

Just as a lot of people lie when asked, "Do you watch TV"? They usually exaggerate and say "barely".

How come? Does it make one's image smarter when they read, instead of watching Television?

I can truthfully say I read excessively, since my English class requires it, but I would much rather spend my time watching Prime Time sitcoms that make me laugh, like Seinfeld , Everybody Loves Raymond or Friends.

Anyways, I couple of the books I've read and enjoyed are Gambler, Crime and Punishment, Mice and Men (again...for school), those are the ones I enjoyed.

Otherwise, I enjoy reading science magazines like Popular Science or PCWorld for technology.

Tail
I've read more than 20, definitely. Why, here's what I read during the last week: I, Robot by Asimov, [don't know how to translate the title] by Stanislaw Lem, a science fiction stories book by Clifford Simak, A Bevy Of Beasts by Gerald Durrell, a science fiction stories book by various authors, How To Shoot An Amateur Naturalist by Durrell, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. And I continued reading (still haven't finished) a science book. But they were all very short.

I don't usually read so much science fiction, just got interested in it now. Normally I read what could be considered to be classical literature. Bulgakhov, Hesse, those kind of authors. I've got some yet unread Kafka and Dostoevsky lined up to read next.

Tail
I honestly cannot imagine how someone could choose to watch sitcoms instead.

Dagenais
I honestly cannot imagine how someone could choose to watch sitcoms instead.

Sitcoms are hilarious. There is nothing I enjoy more than a nice Seinfeld episode at night. Seinfeld is my favorite sitcom.

Friends, Frasier and Cheers are pretty good too.

They are very amusing and the characters perform very funny antics.

Anyone who has sat through a Seinfeld episode knows.

Tail
Now that I think of it, TV is obviously addictive, at least judging ny my sister. She has turned into something I can describe as "zombie".

Dagenais
Researches say that TV itself isn't addictive, but the things on TV is addictive.

Things like The Shopping Channel, or SportsCenter.

What is wrong with that anyways? Unless she spends 6 straight hours staring at the TV, there is no real danger.

Tail
Mental degeneration. That's what TV often causes, in my opinion.

Dagenais
Mental degeneration. That's what TV often causes, in my opinion.

That is more of a myth started by grade school teachers and those who want to appear outwardly intelligent (though they are not).

People that say that are usually just ignorant, and haven't really looked at the television.

Tail
I wouldn't go throwing petty insults.

What exactly do you gain / learn from television, more specifically, sitcoms?

Dagenais
What exactly do you gain / learn from television, more specifically, sitcoms?

Ignorance, is not an insult if it is clearly there.

Mind Degeneration? Are you some kindergarden teacher, teaching kids not to be "Couch Potatoes"? Please.

Sitcoms: Ideas, jokes, writing, creativity, daily knowledge, life, and vernacular english.

Television:

The history channel: History? The whole channel is based on that. Government. A lot more than you'd learn in an American history class. Quite a bit on war too.

TLC: Probably anything taught in school and more.

Discovery: General biology, botany, astronomy, history, marine biology, forensics, technology and CS.

AP: All biology, excluding plant life

PBS: Education for grade school, languages, CS.

QVC: Technology.

CNN: Science and Scientific discoveries.

FoodTV: The science of cooking, and art.

There are many more on things like CS. Lucky for you, I forgot the channels.

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Tail
Originally posted by kenikov
Mind Degeneration? Are you some kindergarden teacher, teaching kids not to be "Couch Potatoes"? Please.
I must say I was surprised to see you're from Canada. I could have sworn you're from America. Hmm, I guess it's spreading.

Sitcoms: Ideas, jokes, writing, creativity, daily knowledge, life, and vernacular english.
Sitcoms is what I wanted (obviously, you can get a lot from informational programmes).

Anyway, I see you have quite an imagination. Mind mentioning examples for these (I'm especially interested in how one can gain "writing", and why one from an English-speaking country would need vernacular English).

Dagenais
must say I was surprised to see you're from Canada. I could have sworn you're from America. Hmm, I guess it's spreading.

Amazing. This is why I called you ignorant. Stereotypical too.

Sitcoms is what I wanted (obviously, you can get a lot from informational programmes).

No, sitcoms is not just what you wanted, and obviously, you didn't state that you can get a lot of information from educational programs before I listed them for you.

A quote from you, "What exactly do you gain / learn from television"

So it seemed like you had no clue before I listed them. Please don't contradict your own statements, it is not helping you.

Anyway, I see you have quite an imagination. Mind mentioning examples for these (I'm especially interested in how one can gain "writing", and why one from an English-speaking country would need vernacular English).

How they can gain writing? Well, who writes sitcoms? Writers do. They must fill a 20+ minute show at least once a week. Not only that, but their writing and ideas have to be good enough to convince the station to let it stay on, when their are thousands of other shows dying to get on air. Their writing can end-up to be so great and interesting, that they get $5,000,000US per show. Quite a few people can learn to speak english from shows like these. People who've just come from China, or India learn quite a bit of English from these shows since North American English is constantly spoken through conversation. maximus Originally posted by wonderland "To die, to sleep - to sleep - perchance to dream..." Gale17, what did you think of Hamlet? I find it so vastly incredible; people question Shakespeare, but I find no hesitation in calling him a genius. You can pick up the complete works anywhere and find such beautiful verse, his language is transcendant. The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, Shakespeare's complete works is better than The Bible I've recently read Titus Andronicus and liked it. can you recommend any others? Tail Originally posted by kenikov No, sitcoms is not just what you wanted, and obviously, you didn't state that you can get a lot of information from educational programs before I listed them for you. You've got to be kidding! Do you think I was talking about Discovery when I said TV programmes were worthless? I specifically mentioned sitcoms (of course, there are lots of other things like that, like reality shows, soap operas etc.). How they can gain writing? Well, who writes sitcoms? Writers do. They must fill a 20+ minute show at least once a week. Not only that, but their writing and ideas have to be good enough to convince the station to let it stay on, when their are thousands of other shows dying to get on air. Their writing can end-up to be so great and interesting, that they get$5,000,000US per show.
I still don't understand what writing one can gain from watching TV.

Quite a few people can learn to speak english from shows like these. People who've just come from China, or India learn quite a bit of English from these shows since North American English is constantly spoken through conversation.
Ok, let's say people who have come to an English-speaking country from a non-English speaking country learn English better. But how many percent of the people who watch TV are like that? This doesn't matter to the average TV-watcher.

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Gale
you, know, i got to thinking the other day... woah i know huh,

but i was thinking, i think reading so much has made me... weird. I'm not very realistic, i live in a fantasy world, i tend to see the world as a big battle of good vs. evil... the list goes on. i think of my life as just some story someone's reading and one of my primary goals is too keep it interesting.

Dagenais
You've got to be kidding! Do you think I was talking about Discovery when I said TV programmes were worthless? I specifically mentioned sitcoms (of course, there are lots of other things like that, like reality shows, soap operas etc.).

Quote from tails, asking what can be gained from TV:

"what exactly do you gain / learn from television"

I don't see any exclusion from educational channels, do you? Stop contradicting yourself.

I still don't understand what writing one can gain from watching TV.

I just previously explained this, did you even bother reading my posts, let alone your own?

Creativity is a large part of writing, and do you know who writes for TV? Writers! Writing for TV, like Friends, Seinfeld, ER, or Law & Order is just as difficult as writing a book. Some of the writers of these shows have been extremely successful authors.

Ok, let's say people who have come to an English-speaking country from a non-English speaking country learn English better. But how many percent of the people who watch TV are like that? This doesn't matter to the average TV-watcher.

Um, unless you didn't know this previously...most foreigners do watch television.

Tail
Originally posted by kenikov
Quote from tails, asking what can be gained from TV:

"what exactly do you gain / learn from television"

I don't see any exclusion from educational channels, do you? Stop contradicting yourself.

Straangely enough, I DO see the exclusion, because I said (here's the part you chopped off included), What exactly do you gain / learn from television, more specifically, sitcoms? Wouldn't you agree this sentence looks like I didn't exactly mean educational channels?

(Friendly advice: when you're quoting someone, it's more polite to quote the whole sentence, instead of missing one part and then *****ing about it being missing.)

I just previously explained this, did you even bother reading my posts, let alone your own?
You didn't explain what the Tv watcher gets. The writers of the shows, ok, they may benefit, but there are not that many of them, you know.

Um, unless you didn't know this previously...most foreigners do watch television.

Yes, overdubbed in their language.

FZ+
Hey! For every inane TV programme, there is an inane book... I don't think the medium matters particularly...

qwpoi
back on topic! (Although I do agree that television, even educational channels, though less so than sitcoms, are a waste of time.)

Read since Jan of 03 to the present (I have not included books assigned from school):
Faust-goethe
The counterfeiters-Gide
Invisible Cities - calvino
Dhalgren- delaney
Dune--herbert i tihnk?
In the Penal Colony and the Hunger Artist --kafka
A Void -georges perec
American Technological Sublime- nye
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass -carroll
Gould's Book of Fish - flanagan
Around the World in 80 Days - verne
-Good Omens - terry hatchett and neil gaiman. (NOT recommended.)
Passage to India - em forster
Dune 2 and Dune 3
As I Lay Dying -Faulker (he's amazing.)
Norwegian Wood -- Murakami. I wasn't impressed with this.
Don Quixote -certantes
War and Peace - Tolstoy
The Sot Weed Factor -barthes
a bunch of short stories in between...

The highlights were Kafka, Faulkner, Delaney, Gide, Calvino, and Stephenson of course.

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qwpoi
Originally posted by Gale17

The adverse side affects are plenty. They alienate you from peers, especially if you're still in high school or attend a college where everyone acts like they're in high school, as I do. My fellow english majors have no idea about half the books I read, which I am pretty confident, are not OBSCURE.

In addition, often when you like a book, it's because it speaks to some part of you, awakens an area inside that was perhaps forgotten, hidden, or uncultivated. Or just suppressed. You read a book and find this sentiment in it and thus feel a sort of kinship with the author of the book.

However, books, alive as they may be, are static beings. One can re-read as many times as wished, new interpretations and things never before discovered can be revealed, but the baseline source remains the same. People on the other hand are not. However we tend to associate authors very closely to the books they write, and authors are people, only they are consistent within themselves. People are not. They change all the time, and every time I read a book that speaks to some inner part of me that hasn't been stimulated by people I talk to in person, my expectations of others are unconsciously raised because I long to be able to have this type of discourse with my friends. This normally does not happen and when I get a bit pessimistic with regard to my friends I usually end up resorting to books that reassure me. Weak, yes, but what else am I to do?

I suppose the short, concise version of my post would be that it raises expectations and real people almost never meet them. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Dagenais
Straangely enough, I DO see the exclusion, because I said (here's the part you chopped off included), What exactly do you gain / learn from television, more specifically, sitcoms? Wouldn't you agree this sentence looks like I didn't exactly mean educational channels?

Specifically, does not mean you are excluding the rest of television. What your sentence basically means, is that you are more interested in what Sitcoms have to offer to its viewers in the television genre. You however, mention what TV has to offer, not excluding educational programming.

I do not see any exclusion of educational programming in the sentence I quoted.

You didn't explain what the Tv watcher gets. The writers of the shows, ok, they may benefit, but there are not that many of them, you know

I did explain. I actually explained twice, and I won't bother to explain a 3rd time.

I suggest you go back, and actually take the time to read the posts before jumping to reply.

(Although I do agree that television, even educational channels, though less so than sitcoms, are a waste of time.

Oh really? Unless you can justify this better than Tails (in which I hope you do), your statement is just as worthless. It is no different than saying, "The internet is a waste of time", without taking the time to justify it.

qwpoi
There's no need to preemptively attack and call my statement hypothetically worthless.

Television *mostly* stimulates people's visual and instant gratification aspects...there is not much flow of quality information, and even for educational shows it's not like you can go back and check the footnotes of the author. It's less erudite than perhaps literature. Then there are the consistent interruptions by commercials which are specifically designed to help people not think.

Television is also aimed towards a mass audience. It's really much more difficult to bring up controversial and less thought of issues on TV, however in books you can pick and select through out all the books available to you in your local bookstore or library. I liken the work of TV writers to romance novel writers...they are there for a specific agenda related to pure entertainment (which nowadays seems to exclude deep thought) and to increase viewers so as to bring in revenue. When watching television, you are at the mercy of whatever is programmed to air at that time, no matter how many different channels you have. It makes people passive...when engaging in reading for example, you have a much wider variety, as I said above.

Media content is dependent upon advertiser support...things have to be approved and toned down, and, for example, after the Bosnia/Kosovo war, a journalist who filmed a documentary about the devastation caused by our presence was suppressed from a supposedly objective channel such as PBS. The news can be better read in a newspaper because often television news is geared towards sensationalism, and they make things as concise as possible to adapt to the increasingly shrinking attention spans of viewers.

etc.etc.

I'm willing to listen to any views you may put forth, but don't attack, please. And I hope there's nothing in my post that can be construed as an attack, and my only goal was to state my views rationally and clearly. I love the Charlie Rose Show on PBS, I think he is quite a fantastic interviewer and doesn't shy away from hard topics and asking hard questions. Distinguished guests and a wide variety. And a rarity on television.

qwpoi
There's also all the rediculous sterotypes that abound...especially the new cultural fascination with homosexuality. Boy meets boy? The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Talk about commodifying sexuality, and making a spectacle about something that many people have had to come around the hard way. Jerry Springer, reality TV shows, all of this feeds on what is worst in human nature, the voyerism without the art. Complete tastelessness abounding. Television seems to delight in taking offensive and crude things and making them somehow funny and amusing, perpetuating ignorant viewpoints on a wide variety of subjects. And then quality shows like Futurama and the Family Guy get cancelled, Buffy never got the respect it deserved.

Dagenais
There's also all the rediculous sterotypes that abound...especially the new cultural fascination with homosexuality. Boy meets boy? The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

Stereotypes happen in books too, not just TV.

Then there are the consistent interruptions by commercials which are specifically designed to help people not think.

Commercials appear in books too. It is not like the publisher hesitates to sell more books. Their are usually ads selling books at the end of books.

Magazines are full of ads, and are just as bad as television.

t's really much more difficult to bring up controversial and less thought of issues on TV, however in books you can pick and select through out all the books available to you in your local bookstore or library.

How is it difficult to bring up issues on TV? If their is a wider audience, then more opinions and issues exist.

they are there for a specific agenda related to pure entertainment (which nowadays seems to exclude deep thought) and to increase viewers so as to bring in revenue.

Writers usually try to increase readers, to bring in revenue.

In case you didn't realize, the more people read a book, the more money the writer of the book gets.

Racism, profanity, and violence can all exist in books.

They can't on TV (excluding high cable channels).

Tail
I'm a bit tired of trying to explain it, but here goes: ok, writers who write for the shows gain a lot. They have to be creative. The average TV-watcher doesn't gain any 'writing'.

Anyway, TV gives you lots of information and no time to think. Good books require concentration and creativity, and they demand that time be taken to think about what is said there. Let me say right away that I cannot prove it; I don't think anybody can. However, I think that most people who enjoy reading good literature and are familiar with TV would agree (at least those 3 who are near me right now do).

qwpoi
I know stereotypes happen in books and not just tv. Which is why I likened tv to romance novels.

Commercials appear at the ends of books (if they indeed do appear at all) and can be ignored. They are also not the visual splashes that magazine ads and television commercials are. In magazines as well, you can quickly pass by them and move onto your next article. With television you have to watch the commercial or continue flipping through channels without sticking with one particular show, thus shortening one's attention span.

It's incredibly difficult to bring up issues that the advertiser might not want. Do you think that GE will let one of it's television channels air a show that may portray them in an unfavorable light? And before you say this is normal, let me tell you that there have been many suppressed documentaries/news items because it *revealed* things that GE did not want revealed. Same for the rest of the major television channels, all of which are owned by a major media conglomerate. And those are the major difficult issues. There is also the mentality that plays out in shows such as the ones I mentioned above, the subtle more insiduous ones.

It is a known fact--consult any respectable book on the state of media today--that precisely because of the fact that it reaches a wider audience, there is less diversity in programming. There are few producers and many many viewers, and the goals of these producers are to reach as many people as possible.

You say that writers try to increase readers and bring in revenue--this is so with any art form, but there is a clear distinction between the autonomy of a book writer and the autonomy of a television writer.

You seem to think that I am saying that books are utopia and television is hell. This is not so, I mentioned in previous posts a few television shows which I think are quality. I can appreciate certain aspects of television but that does not mean that I need to blindly accept it, nor does it mean that I can't see problems inherent in the publishing industry.

"In case you didn't realize, the more people read a book, the more money the writer of the book gets."

There's no need for sarcasm here, honey.

Racism, profanity, and violence can all exist in books. They can't on TV (excluding high cable channels).

They exist on TV. Television enforces latent cultural sterotypes--of course writers can't write explicitly racist statements, but the various injurious mindsets that exist in a vast majority of the American public permeate television and inculate children with these views in such a way that they do not think there is anything wrong with it. If you ask for examples, I will point you to what I wrote previously regarding the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Why is it do you think that Will from Will and Grace never gets a man? And if he gets a man, why can't he keep him? Why can the gay man NOT HOLD A RELATIONSHIP? Because our culture still thinks it's disgusting. There's nothing wrong with Will being gay, as long as he doesn't act on his homosexuality. He is essentially neutered in this show, which is a fantasy many homophobes in denial have.

If you want to continue debating this, please do so in a polite manner, sans sarcasm and invective.

Dagenais
I'm a bit tired of trying to explain it, but here goes: ok, writers who write for the shows gain a lot. They have to be creative. The average TV-watcher doesn't gain any 'writing'.

I've already replied to this inane comment multiple times. Judging by this thread alone, reading hasn't helped your comprehension or spelling at all. If you can't even keep up with the posts in this thread, I suggest you read some more.

Quoted by Tails: "programmes"

It also hasn't stopped your stereotypical remarks like how you was surprised I was in America.

Commercials appear at the ends of books (if they indeed do appear at all) and can be ignored. They are also not the visual splashes that magazine ads and television commercials are. In magazines as well, you can quickly pass by them and move onto your next article. With television you have to watch the commercial or continue flipping through channels without sticking with one particular show, thus shortening one's attention span.

That doesn't shorten your attention span. One just doesn't want to sit through ads.

I do agree that they are annoying, and unlike Tails you bring-up a good point about commercials.

I was watching something on NBC once, and it was 2 hours. They lengthened the show needlessly (it could of been half that time) and they cut to a commercial lying about what would happen after the commercial, just to cut to another commercial before what they say actually happens.

It is a known fact--consult any respectable book on the state of media today--that precisely because of the fact that it reaches a wider audience, there is less diversity in programming. There are few producers and many many viewers, and the goals of these producers are to reach as many people as possible.

Actually, the diversities of genres on TV is much greater than that of books. A few types of television shows that will never be in a good book include:

1. Game shows
2. Music videos
3. Live concerts
4. Live sports

The ones not mentioned like sci-fi, horror or mystery, all appear in both books and television.

You say that writers try to increase readers and bring in revenue

No. You said that, I was simply implying that authors did the same.

They exist on TV

On the first few pages of Prey, the author writes with quite a bit of profanity, as he did in Jurassic Park. Of Mice and Men and old books included a wide variety of racial slurs.

If this was done on national TV, companies would be sued, they would have protesters marching down their offices and never be shown on TV again.

You almost never here the word "F@ck" on TV, unless you watch Jerry Springer where it is usually censored.

I see it a lot in books.

Tail
Originally posted by kenikov
I've already replied to this inane comment multiple times.
Obviously you cannot express yourself well enough for other people to understand you, then.

There's nothing wrong with my comprehension, but I sure would like to know what is wrong with my spelling. Not that a spelling mistake would be a tragedy, considering that I'm from Latvia and knowing that 1) even being just 18, I probably know more languages than you do, 2) I can certainly spell English words better than many Americans my age, 3) I can read scientific texts in English, which is not everyone can do in a foreign language without ever having been taught to read that kind of literature.

I would be glad to see what spelling mistake(s) you were referring to.

Quoted by Tails

Nope, I didn't quote this.

It also hasn't stopped your stereotypical remarks like how you was surprised I was in America.
Actually, I was surprised about just the opposite.

Beren
My list for the past week and a half.

Return of the King (50th or 60th time, by now)
How Few Yet Remain, Turtledove
The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
Pastwatch, OSC (again)
In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Asimov, Isaac Asimov
The Light of Other Days, Arthur C. Clarke
Visions, Michio Kaku

I love to watch TV, but I generally only turn on movies or the History Channel anymore. I can listen to a movie, and the History Channel I don't feel guilty about watching afterwards.

I see it a lot in books.

Only in newer age books, really.

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