It is a painful thing to do the math on how many books you’ll be able to read before you die (no matter how old you are). I’m sorry, it’s just not as many as you think, and you’re never going to get through your TBR pile.
Unless you’re Madylene Wilson?
According to this story in Columbus, Ohio newspaper, The Republic, 78-year-old Wilson is an absolute reading machine, and claims to finish between 150 and 200 books a month. To achieve these startling numbers she heads to her local library once month and, with help from her daughter, leaves with a duffel bag full of books; the local librarians even have a system in place to help her stock up.
I was going to do the math on how many pages per hour Wilson needs to read a month in order to hit those numbers, but I think the original headline really just says it all: “78-year-old woman constantly reading.”
As for Wilson’s taste in reading?
Wilson enjoys newspapers, mysteries, suspense stories and novels by James Patterson and Mary Burton. In a twist that’s a bit ironic, given her love of murder mysteries, Wilson said that reading helps calm her nerves when she’s anxious or “shaky.” [Wilson’s daughter] Krebbs also said that she thinks her mother enjoys “being able to escape, to get into something.”
Though this level of near total escape from the world seems to blur the line between blessing and curse, can you really blame Wilson for preferring not to spend too much time thinking about life as it really is? Frankly, I am envious of her capacity to lose herself in books, and I wish her many more years of constant reading.
But look, whatever you do, DON’T try to do the math on how many books you can read before you die.