Sarah Hoyt, prominent fantasy and sci fi author who blogs here, mentioned in passing on her blog that, while on vacation, she reads 4 novels a day. That’s the fastest reading speed I’ve ever heard of, so, like Fahrenheit and his salty ice water, we’ll just assert that that’s as good as it gets and make it the benchmark.
Since science depends, to an often shocking degree, on simplifying assumptions, we are not going to ask whether we’re talking 4 anchor-like tomes such as Anna Karenina or lighter fare such as Have Spacesuit Will Travel. Nope – science decrees: novels is novels.
So a Hoyt of reading speed is based on 4 novels a day, 28 novels a week and, for standard measuring purposes, 1460.96 novels per year (1). A milliHoyt is therefore 1.46096 novels per year. We could round up to 1.5 novels/year with no material loss in accuracy (because I say so).
So: right now, I’m reading about 2 novels/week, which projects to 104 novels/year. Dividing by 1.5 yields a current novel-reading speed of 69.3333 milliHoyts. How you doin’?
The next challenge for Science is to come up with an equivalency table: while we will silently glare with eyebrows held high at anyone who wants the 250 pages of Slan to count less the 600+ pages of a typical John C Wright or Gene Wolfe novel, at some point we must attempt to expand beyond typical novels. For example, how many standard novels is Phenomenology of Spirit worth? And are we to count just pages, or do the spiritual and moral effort needed to complete some books figure into it? Phenom of S is only a little longer than a Mike Flynn novel by page count, but a Flynn novel doesn’t reduce your brain to jelly and leave you mind a quivering cripple.
Science! Marches On, but does need to mill around on the parade grounds a bit from time to time, too.
- Using 365.24 days/year. Close enough.