Number of Words After Six More Months of Reading

Y'know what this number heavy blog really needs? More numbers!

Six months ago, after having finished reading Harry Potter in its entirety, I wrote this blog adding up the word counts for all the books I’d read up to that point.  As six months have passed, I thought I would revisit that topic, add up the words for the books I’ve read in the interim, and see what sort of conclusions I might be able to draw from it.

Word counts for books are an odd sort of thing, because despite the widespread availability of digital media, nothing really lists the word counts for books yet, and a lot of people don’t necessarily have an idea for what a word count even really means particularly.  That isn’t really the case for me, as I’ve been reading, writing, and publishing stuff for online consumption for a quite a while, so I have a good idea in my head of how long something is based on its number of words, probably to a better extent than I do based on page counts.  But even for those who don’t have a good idea, I think there’s some utility in seeing all the words added up.

Not only is the number going to be pretty large, there’s also a better sense of scale when comparing apples to apples.  This last six months I read 31 books, but the shortest among them, El Alquimista, is less than a fourth the length of the longest one, American Gods.  Does it make sense to just go by number of books when there’s that much variation in length?  I suppose it might if you have no concept of how many words make up a book.  Then again, after reading 30 odd books and looking at the word counts for them, you’d probably have a really solid concept of how long it takes to read by word count, too.

Like last time, I have to make a stipulation about these totals.  They are to a certain extent incomplete, because I’ve read a few short stories between then and now that aren’t listed, and these totals are rounded, not necessarily coming from perfectly reliable sources (it’s amazing the variation you can find on what’s listed for word counts for books online), and based on the English versions of the books out of practicality.  I’m not taking this total as a gospel amount of words read, and neither should anyone reading this blog.

Well then, let’s look at the books I’ve read over the past six months.

  • Matar a un Ruiseñor, 99,100 words
  • American Gods, 188,600 words
  • Fahrenheit 451, 46,100 words
  • El Alquimista 45,000 words
  • Yo No Soy tu Perfecta Hija Mexicana 81,000 words
  • Tormenta 86,900 words
  • Luna Llena 102,100 words
  • La Tumba 116,900 words
  • El Caballero 111,700 words
  • Máscaras de Muerte 107,300 words
  • Derecho de Sangre 121,300 words
  • Latidos Mortales 144,500 words
  • Culpable 154,600 words
  • El Trono Blanco 130,200 words
  • Un Pequeño Favor 139,800 words
  • Renegado 141,700 words
  • Cambios 149,200 words
  • El Color de la Magia 66,500 words
  • La Luz Fantástica 65,600 words
  • Ritos Iguales 67,900 words
  • Mort 75,300 words
  • Rechicero 80,800 words
  • Brujerías 87,700 words
  • Pirómides 89,700 words
  • ¡Guardias! ¡Guardias! 100,300 words
  • Eric 35,500 words
  • Imágenes en Acción 99,500 words
  • El Segador 80,700 words
  • Brujas de Viaje 84,000 words
  • Dioses Menores 92,900 words
  • Lores y Damas 92,000 words
  • Hombres de Armas 97,800 words

 

  • Total Word Count from the Past Six Months: 3,182,200 words
  • Previous Running Total Word Count: 1,419,600 words
  • Current Running Total Word Count: 4,601,800 words

Well.  Can’t exactly be disappointed by those numbers.

I knew it would probably be pretty high, but I gotta say I’m pleased that it’s more than double the word count from the last blog.  It was obviously going to be higher, both thanks to increased reading speed over time as well as a higher level of daily focus on reading per day.  I was expecting to maybe hit 4 million total, so having it be over four and a half is nice.

Something that’s been becoming clearer to me as time has gone on is just how creeping and plodding this whole undertaking is.  I remember one of the big takeaways last tally was that a million words got me to an intermediate level.  At four million words now, I’m thinking I might have been jumping the gun to have called myself intermediate then, as I sit at a still intermediate level and think back on where I was at six months ago.

There is just an amazing amount of need to process a new language.  I can read a lot of these books just fine, with no particular struggle (and the few times I got curious and picked up books from that reading chunk—usually Harry Potter—just to see, I can read them better and faster now than I could at the time), but there’s still a need for more raw input, raw experience having the language used for me.  More and more is converting from passive vocabulary to active, and I’ve gone from having a shaky optimism toward the prospect of reading most things in Spanish to a strong confidence about pretty much everything, but I really get the sense of it being like an iceberg.  No matter how much of the surface I see, and no matter how deep I dive in, it just feels bigger and bigger the further down it goes.

An additional, more minor thing I’ve noticed, is that thanks to the nature of the structure for Discworld books, I’ve slowly lost the thread on how long I’m actually spending reading per day.  The books are all fairly close in length to each other, but there’s a pretty good margin of difference between one book to the next, and since they aren’t broken up into chapters, there isn’t a handy mechanism built in for keeping track for me.  I’ve been going by the ‘book percentage’ that my Kindle gives me for determining how far into a given book I am, and after measuring early on with timers and readjusting as the books lengthened up, I’ve been content to just let that total be the gospel for how I read them.  But, looking at the numbers now, and looking back over how long it took me to read a Dresden Files book, I think I might be overestimating how long per day I’ve been spending on each Discworld book.

That isn’t a world-ender or anything, the books are all getting read eventually anyway, but it’s making me think I ought to go and reevaluate again.  It’s kind of tough to really do, because reading has gradually taken on a kind of strange role in my day-to-day life, with me catching 10-20 minute chunks here and there, with one or two more robust sessions sprinkled in throughout the day.  It works fine, and seems to be somewhere around three hours when all is said and done, but maybe it’s more like two and a half hours some days.  Or somewhere in-between.  Maybe some days it’s higher than three hours.  Or maybe I’m wildly off-base and it’s something radically different.  If I sat down and read for a single chunk of time in a day, or if I had it in chapters where I could read what the Kindle was estimating it would take me to read a given chapter, it would be a lot easier, but here we are.

I don’t know, trying to organize that sort of thing will be hard to fit in, but I probably should try and get a good total for what it is I’m reading per day again.  In the meantime I’m pretty sure I’ve been under-evaluating my time spent per day, and as such as I was drafting this blog and noticing this problem, I upped my daily goal of 20% to 25% with Hombres de Armas, while still estimating that as the same amount of time per day.  I didn’t adjust the totals down for the previous book, though I’m assuming it is lower.  I’m going to try and hold 25% as the baseline for a “full” day of reading going forward, until I have a chance to really sit down and time it out again.

Anyway, I’m pleased with the totals here.  I know I’m gonna be breaking five million in short order, and I have about 25 books left in Discworld to get through, so that’s another two million ish in the pipeline.  Will seven million words be the magic breakthrough to advanced?  Or am I already at advanced and just haven’t thought of myself that way because my speaking skills are lagging so behind?  I’m excited to see what the future has in store.

Well, now that we’ve gotten through all those numbers, let’s take a look at a bunch more numbers.

Tuesday 4/23

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/5 of Lores y Damas, ~180 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 4/24

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/5 of Lores y Damas, ~180 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 4/25

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/10 of Lores y Damas, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 4/26

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Hombres de Armas, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of She-Ra, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 4/27

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Hombres de Armas, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of She-Ra, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 4/28

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Hombres de Armas, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of She-Ra, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 4/29

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1/4 of Hombres de Armas, ~180 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of She-Ra, ~20 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1 and 7/10 books, 1170 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 4 tv and 1 YouTube episodes watched, 100 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 21 hours 10 minutes

Hooray for numbers!

So overall a pretty good week.  Thursday, as you can see, was a pretty light day, because I had some other commitments that kept me away from home and busy for a number of hours, I basically had to call a mulligan on getting much of anything else done for the day, though I still managed to squeeze a little bit of time in around everything, which included a bit of listening practice in trying to match up with my desire to expand that in a minor way so I don’t feel quite so beholden to only listen to really hard things.

And following that up, a new season of She-Ra came out, which is the perfect thing to fill that desire.  It’s something I can listen to with pretty much zero trouble.  I’ve been reluctant to rewatch something that I already know fits that bill, and haven’t really wanted to go digging for something new to watch, so it came out at the perfect time.  It’s unfortunately a little on the short side, so I’ll be back to confronting that problem again in short order, but I’m enjoying it for now.  It’s really a good show, much better than it has any right to be.

I finished Lores y Damas, which I enjoyed quite a bit, though it’s still lagging a bit behind as far as favorites of the series go.  Then, as mentioned in the main body, I adjusted my daily reading expectations and got through Hombres de Armas a day faster than my previous pace to close out the week and this blog’s word counting.  Hombres de Armas, on the other hand, is my new favorite of the series.  I really like the Night Watch characters, and while they’ve only been in two of the books so far, those are the most intricately plotted books of the series, making them all around very satisfying.  Right now they are definitely winning in terms of my favorite ensemble cast for Discworld, followed by the witch coven, Death, then poor old Rincewind.  Not to really say anything negative about Rincewind, he’s just outshone by the other casts.

I’ve continued to work my way through the newly added lessons for the Spanish-for-English-Speakers tree on Duolingo.  It’s all been rather easy so far, and I’m tempted to devote a chunk of time on a day when I have a bunch of free time to go through and clear out a big chunk of it that’s basic  enough to be boring to “review” for me, just to get it out of the way.  Then again, I’m not really using Duolingo for much at this point, it’s all pretty simple at this point.  I’m keeping my streak alive and can’t really complain too loudly, considering how tiny of a time commitment I give it each day.

Once again, I haven’t really worked on my plan for finding a good place for chatting yet.  I keep poking around here and there looking for something that might be interesting, but nothing’s really jumped out yet.  I really oughtta sit down and do that one of these days, instead of thinking about burning through Duolingo or something.

Next week might end up being a little bare, considering my uncle’s coming into town and I’m likely going to have a good portion of my free time sapped away.  Which is fine, it’ll be great to see him, but I might have the first really low blog numbers in quite a while, depending on how much free time I lose.  We shall see.  I’ll at least end April on a normal note, I’ll just be starting May on a hectic one.

Anyway, that’ll do for this one.  TTFN.

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