It’s no secret that Bethany and I (Stacie) are book nerds. We obsess over characters. We dwell on plots that make sense and wonder at those that don’t. We read in paper, in electronic formats and we listen to books. People questioned how much we read. We track our reading progress. And that’s where the divergence starts.
At one point, prior to family, kids and widespread use of social media, I read between 150 and 200 books per year. Crazy, I know. But I didn’t own a television. I was a teacher at the time (or studying to be one.) I read a far amount of short books geared to grades fifth to eighth. Part of the reason I was able to read so many books is because the page count ranged between 125 to 225. When I read “adult” books, the page count was higher; the range was between 300 to 350.
It didn’t seem right to have just a book count without some other metric like page count to counter balance it. Later in life, I learned that a single metric is never the way to go; several are usually needed to indicate slightly different aspects of any tracking system (financial, health, etc.)
Side note: Yes, I’m a natural geek. I learned this while studying to be an English teacher.
Because of this desire, I felt that it was fair to use page numbers in my metrics for books I listened to. After all, I was measuring the type of book as well as the number of books read. It’s a reasonable substitute in my mind. Sort of like plug numbers in financial analysis.
Side note: Yes, I love it when I find a series where the books weigh in at more than 400 pages. It makes the average pages per book fun compared to a year where I read mostly YA novels. Although, the length of some of those are really catching up.
Time goes along and I met Bethany. At some point, we both admitted that we had reading logs, and although we never got as far as actually comparing them, we did so some high level comparison. Bethany too went through this crossroads and chose the path of not counting pages. And, although we understand each other position and there was some good-natured ribbing, it was mostly a closed subject.
Side note: I’m pretty sure that if we actually compared our reading lists, I have way more charts, graphs and data tables then Bethany does. I’ve seriously considered putting the whole mess into MS Access just for the fun of learning MS Access. Thankfully, I have a day job that allows me to play around with MS Access and I have thus avoid that level of geekiness.
Fast forward to 2014. I’m working with a whole new world of geekery that is really new, however, it is quickly apparent that I’m a nature fit. I know that I can safely bring up my hobby of tracking my reading and share it with kindred spirits.
Only, it all goes south. While they are suitable impressed with the overall stats (average of 100 books per year over the last 13 years, topping 500,000 pages in total and more than 1,300 books), they are aghast at my inclusion of page count for audio titles. Actually, it might be pure outrage. One person went so far as to tell me it was board line lying.
While I’ve tried to fairly present my case, I’m sure I’ve done it in such a way that I’ve biased you into taking my point of view. Can you let me know in the comments what you think? Should page numbers be included in a book log if the format of the title was an audio book?
Side note: I really haven’t even touched up the way that format changes between hard cover, mass market paperback and trade paperback change the page count, nor have I touched on the usage of white space. The ultimate metric, in my mind, is word count. But even that is a flawed process as sentence complexity could vary. There’s loads of way I could build metrics. I picked what I believed to be a reasonable system, with non-controversial indicators.