Nine ways to read
Ideas for reading more and better books
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, ‘Young Girl Reading’, c1776
Happy Birthday, Paul
Before we get to this week’s main topic: Paul McCartney is 80 today and it would be remiss of The Ruffian not to mark that marvellous event. I went to see him in concert this week, at the MetLife stadium in New Jersey, and it was fantastic! I’m going to write a separate note about that experience when I have time in a few days (I’m currently in New York). It will be a short one; I have written quite a lot about Macca already. For now, I leave you with wise words from the singer-songwriter Madi Diaz:
Nine Ways To Read
Do you wish that you read more books? If so, this one’s for you.
A few years ago I started to keep and post a note of all the books I read, if only to convince myself that I had actually read some. I published my 2021 list in The Ruffian. I am glad I make these notes now. It’s like taking a photo of a moment that might otherwise be forgotten (believe me, if a moment or a book can be forgotten, I will forget it).
One consequence is that I know my batting average for a year: about twenty-five to thirty books. That feels desperately inadequate: unless I speed up considerably, it’s unlikely I will reach my ultimate goal of reading all the books ever. But I felt better about it after seeing this informal survey, which the Financial Times journalist John Burn-Murdoch put to his 450k followers (who I would guess do slightly more reading than the general population, on average):
So now I know I’m in the top quintile. That’s the good news, for me; the bad news, for you, is that I’m taking this as an excuse to dispense advice on how to read more books (and get more from doing so). Only some of what follows is actually from me, much of it is picked up from others - I just thought it would be useful to gather some of these tips together.