Books in a lifetime

How many books can one read in their life? I saw a nice quote from G.R.R Martin today, in one of his books:

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.

It made me wonder how many books I’ve read, and if it was near 1000.

I’ve been adding my reads to my goodreads account for the past 6 or 7 years, but before that it’s hard to remember what I’ve read. I know certain main authors that I’ve read everything by, but I’m sure there are one-offs out there that I’ll just never remember.

After a concerted effort today, I got my count on goodreads up to 320-ish. That seems a paltry number for 25 years of reading… and I feel I’m missing a big chunk somewhere. What era of my life am I missing… what adventures and travels and battles did I forget…

Too many thoughts

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on one, so I end up doing nothing. When there is something pulling you from every direction, you don’t move. If you stay in that way too long you get ripped apart. One direction, move forward, that’s the way to go… easier said than done, though.

Keep going

Sometimes life is boring, repetitive, tiring, uninteresting, painful, frustrating, and upsetting. But keep going, one step in front of the other, one minute after the other, one day after the next, until you get to the next good thing. Even if you don’t see it on the horizon, it’s out there.

Star sand

One of my co workers brought back some star sand for me from a beach in Taiwan. The star shaped grains of sand are actually tiny exoskeletons of foraminifers, a marine protozoa. These creatures lived on the ocean floor, but their skeletons are washed up by the tide. Walking along a beach like that, you would be walking over millions of skeletal remains of creatures from an alien world you’ll never visit…Nature is strange, and interesting…


I’ve begun reading The Talented Mr. Ripley and am finding the character, Tom, very interesting in a ‘look at that crime scene’ kind of way. I only vaguely remember the movie, but so far the story of the novel is about a small time con artist, and very charming man Tom Ripley being sent to Europe by the father of a friend of his, in order to convince that friend to come home to America and be with his ill mother. Tom, who barely remembers this friend, is able to somehow steer the conversation in such a way that his expenses and ticket are paid for by the father.

So far, Tom has been working his way into the friend, Dicky’s, life, and watching him do it is very entertaining. Something about manipulative people is interesting to me, maybe because it’s a skill I don’t perceive myself as having, or being able to use with a clear conscience. Tom, however, is not a cold, calculating manipulator, but an emotional, spontaneous one that sometimes doesn’t even seem to realize what he’s doing.

I vaguely remember from the movie where the story ends up (I think) but am excited to find out how it gets there.

Orlando, by Virginia Woolf

Orlando tells the story of an English nobleman living during the reign of Elizabeth I. At the age of 30 he mysteriously turns into a woman, then lives on for 300 further years. He is an aspiring writer and poet, and meets many people over his/her life.

At the start of the book, he falls in love with a Russian princess, Sasha, who then abandons him on the night they are to elope. The descriptions of his love for her were so detailed and identifiable that I thought sure they would end up together again somehow. I was a bit disappointed at the end when they did not. I thought the story was to be about how love endures over time and regardless of gender, and I imagined that they’d meet again when Orlando was a woman, and still love each other even though he had become she.

The book did not go that route though. Orlando travels through time always working on her poem, The Oak Tree, and meeting various people. In the end she meets and instantly marries a sea captain by the name of Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine (???) who, although he dresses like a woman sometimes, is still a man. I was slightly disappointed that she ended up marrying normally, and marrying a fairly normal man, as was expected of her, and it seems a sort of mild end to an otherwise ‘out there’ novel.

Though it lost me a bit at the end, I enjoyed it a lot. The writing was very clever and I laughed quite a few times.

Nature is angry

The air is filled with smoke. Ashes fall like snow. It’s hotter than it’s ever been. Winds and waters destroy our infrastructure, explode our factories. Is it hubris to think we can do whatever we want and still thrive on this planet? Look to the future. It’s time to change ourselves.