One of my friends refers to me as “the scribe” because I like to write stuff down. And one of the things I write down is how many books I read a year. As my tower of unread books grows taller and spawns little towers, it’s a way to prove to myself that I am reading. It’s a way to measure progress.

Every year I tally up. My number was down for 2009–42. But it did include Infinite Jest.

Not that numbers are important. In fact, at the moment, I’m trying to slow my reading, pay more attention, see how they’re doing it.

In any event, here are my numbers for recent years:

2008: 51

2007: 50

2006: 48 (+ lots of random stories)

2005: 74

2004: 50

Two questions occur to me from looking at these numbers, both involving the word cut. One, if I can only read 40-50 books a year, does the book I’m holding in my hands make the cut? Two, what else can I cut out to make more time for reading?

Do you know how many books you read a year?