> nedelja, februar 26, 2006
> komentarjev: 7

... how many times a year?

I don't have much data to operate with, and all I have is this:

- Manca Košir said that perhaps 10% of Slovene read more than 20 books a year,
- while Janez Rugelj is positive that around 50% don't read anything.

How about you?
I also guess that our national reading distribution is normal. I don't guess that on shaky grounds. So I fit the gaussian distribution to these points: (0.1, 20), (0.5, Epsilon), (Infinity, 0), and see where I fall. - The orange dot, that's me among the 7%, or 140,000, of highly literate Slovene, here here! I also suppose that nobody sane tops 100 books a year. But this upper limit isn't that significant to the overall picture, for such is the nature of the normal distribution.

Under some thought plus a comment from master ill-advised I started to believe that the normal distribution idea was not a good idea, the power law should be more to the mark. Please note that as the image above is not right.

- Every year I read about 40 books. I don't think I could read more. I could read less, although what I really want is to read better books. But listen to this: every year I also write down the list of the books I read and make bold the titles that I really enjoyed. Those are the books I would like to read again as quickly as possible (Goethe's Faust for example), and the ratio of the great titles to all is growing: 22% in 2004 and 25% in 2005.
- I found this interesting US-book Statistics, e.g. see section "Who is Reading Books (and who is not)", e.g.: "80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year" - this serves as a very contrast picture to the asymmetry of our world, where reading books in quiet (how else?) has become a commodity of the greatest rarity.

Komentarji: 7

Anonymous Luka:

I have to admit you made me courious: I didn't have any clue of how many books I had read this year. If someone had asked me, I would've guessed something from 7 to 10.

Surprisingly, when I made a more precise recollection, the number (counting only the books I actually finished) turned to be 23. (12 in spanish, 7 in slovene, 2 in italian, 1 in english and 1 in catalan.)

So, thanks to you, I now know how many books a year I read on average.

BTW, great blog. I try not to miss it.

27/2/06 02:34  
Blogger ill-advised:

I also guess that our national reading distribution is normal. I don't guess that on shaky grounds.

I'm a little curious about this -- in particular, what grounds do you have for believing that our national reading distribution is normal?

I would naively expect the distribution to be closer to a a power-law or perhaps a lognormal distribution. For example, I'd expect a large number of people to be significantly below the average, and a very much smaller number of people to be significantly above the average. But among these latter there are probably some people who are unusually high above the average, and thus help lift the average considerably above the median. None of these things would occur in a normal distribution, but they are typical for power-law distributions.

(I don't have any grounds for these guesses whatsoever, except that they appear more persuasive to me than the normal-distribution hypothesis. Besides, power-law distributions are extremely common in all sorts of social and societal phenomena.)

P.S. You seem to be awfully fond of the word "bookie". Are you aware of the fact that it does not mean e.g. a person enthusiastic about books and/or reading, but a person with whom you can arrange a bet (e.g. in horse racing)?

27/2/06 20:29  
Blogger Bo:

Tell me why it is always you that brings me in a peculiar mood?
But don't you worry! I won't close the blog down just yet.

You are right both times.

The word "bookie" is a bad choice, I must say, since it has apparently nothing to do with books as I thought it did. It rhymes well though.
I won't perish now, but instead correct the word in most crucial places.

I agree the normal distribution was not the correct choice either, and I started to have these doubts yesterday. Your reasoning is good. Also the normal distribution is obviously not suitable for a distribution which is not symmetrical around the mean value. I also believe now that the national reading distribution should follow the power law.

All said somehow put this post in an utter darkness. It's very probable I will perish now and remain Bo ...

27/2/06 22:04  
Blogger Bo:

But there are tricks with the power law.

I won't say another word until I know better.

27/2/06 22:29  
Blogger ill-advised:

Tell me why it is always you that brings me in a peculiar mood?

I don't really know, but if I absolutely had to guess, I would suggest that there are some rather fundamental differences in our attitudes and opinions about the world, life, etc. Possibly that causes a somewhat peculiar feeling when reading the other person's writings :)

27/2/06 23:52  
Blogger Bo:

Master luka, I saw you were having a book by José Ortega y Gasset. This is interesting, for I don't think he is well known here in Ljubljana. Is he?

He's such a great thinker in my opinion.
Will you be interested in telling us something about his book?
I know I would be interested in telling us something about his Revolt of the Masses.

1/3/06 00:16  
Anonymous Luka:

Bo, I've just now seen your last comment.
Actually, I was quite surprised when I learned we had the Meditaciones sobre el Quijote translated in Slovene. But we do. From 2002 (that's what happens if you don't go to bookshops so often as you used to!). It's a very interesting book, and very well translated (unlike La rebelión de las masas).
I was actually thinking of writing something about it. When I do, I'll let you know.
Take care.

14/3/06 18:49  

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