I’ll cop to this: my shelves contain more books I’ve never finished than books I’ve read. But I don’t think I’m quite to the point that Charlie Brooker describes in the Guardian
I’m fairly certain I recently passed a rather pathetic tipping point, and now own more unread books and unwatched DVDs than my remaining lifespan will be able to sustain.
For one thing, I don’t buy DVD’s, except for an occasional pick from the $5 grocery store bin.
In related news, why hasn’t everyone in America viewed and memorized the eminently quotable Bowfinger?
My husband and I have committed to the more efficient strategy of arranging our Netflix queue to contain Important Subtitled Films for Cultural Literacy, then promptly shelving discs like Cinema Paradisio while watching SNL clips at Hulu. Then, when the children ask why their movie hasn’t come in the mail after a couple of months, the dusty red envelope goes right back into the mailbox and we await Scooby-Doo and the Mysterious Haunted Delicatessen. It works for us.
Here we’re back to the Partial Book Review feature that I’m really going to resume one of these days. My feeling is that even when I do read a book cover to cover, it’s not like I remember most of it (Fig. 1):
Thus, we see that the net result of the average book-reading session approximately three weeks out is a retention rate of 18.9%. Allowing for the increase in mental productivity from writing about what subjects the Subject has read, we may extrapolate that the composition of a review based on 43.1% of the book will result in a net retention rate of 23.5%, an improvement of 4.6 percentage points.
An additional benefit of coming to terms with the Failure to Read in Full is an overall reduction in library fines of $147 per annum, or approximately one and one-half shelves’ worth of commemorative library square footage, as could potentially be notated in faux brass engraved plaque to be affixed to said shelves, were the funds donated outright instead of funnelled through the “fines are fine” mechanism.