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366 Days, 366 Books: How Jeff Ryan Read One Book Per Day in 2012

booksJeff Ryan, like a lot of professional writers, spends a lot of time reading. He made a demanding resolution for last year: to read an average of one book per day. Since 2012 was a leap year, that meant 366 books. Ryan was appareantly successful–and not by reading only very short books. Here’s how:

No, my prime directive was: no min-maxing. In Dungeons and Dragons, “min-maxing” is focusing on one character attribute to the exclusion of everything else. (Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is an excellent example of someone who min-maxes intelligence, stealing points from charisma and dexterity.) If you’ve ever been in a team sport, school play, or med school, you know how that commitment supersedes all others. Parties are missed, sleep is skipped, emails go unreturned. “I can’t—I have practice/rehearsal/a corpse to dissect.” [...]

But for every period behind the eight ball, I had weeks when I was days or even weeks ahead of schedule. A slack day at work, an hour doing yard work with the iPod, a solo plane ride or overnight stay—these were my moments, and I seized them. Believe it or not, I grew so far ahead of my pace that I successfully read all 1,016 pages of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons. It took me three full weeks, but I slew that Dragon.

I did have to give up some things. I listened to audiobooks exclusively—no music for me. I gave up video games, which wasn’t as big a deal for me as I expected it would be. Mainly, though, I decided that Starship Troopers 2, Lost Boys 3, and Saws V-VII weren’t worth the midnight oil I was expending on them. Yes, you, too, can read a book a day, just by giving up direct-to-DVD horror films!

Here’s his reading list. Read more about Ryan’s methods at the link.

Link | Photo: katerha

My favorite read of 2012 was the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. What was your favorite book to read last year?


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