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

Jeff 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?

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I agree with you. I wouldn't include audio books on a list like this. For one thing, it's too easy to do many other things and not even hear the book. I only listen to audio books when I don't care if I don't get every bit. On the other hand, I guess if you're 'reading' a book a day, you're hardly taking it all in anyway. I still do not consider listening to an audio book 'reading'.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
How do you read a book by listening to it? That's quite the opposite thing. You could stretch it a little further and say you read The Lord of the Rings by watching the movies.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I liked it because it did a couple of things well. It described with some detail some of the naval engagements from the war of 1812, and even though I don't know nautical terminology, I found it good story-telling. Secondly, it sets the political context well for the development of the American navy - the challenges of funding it, even the challenges of persuading congress, and some presidents, that having a standing navy was a good idea. Thirdly, it does present some perspective from the British side of things regarding the War of 1812, something lacking in much of the reading I had done previously.

The only downside for me was my own personal shortcoming - lacking vocabulary to really understand some of the more technical descriptions of the battles. However, I don't think the author was overly technical, and it didn't really interfere when he was was narrative mode.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
According to the Google Docs link, he didn't read a book on 12/31, so he only got up to 365 books.

I read all the books in the Harry Potter series and Hunger Games trilogy and enjoyed all of them.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Also, I commend Jeff on successfully reading a book every day. Back in middle school, when I didn't have anything to be concerned about, I used to read a book a day. I'd check out 7 books every Monday. I did this consistently for about half a year. It was awesome.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"366 Days, 366 Books: How Jeff Ryan Read One Book Per Day in 2012"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More