New Book Tells You How Long It Will Take You to Read It
Our hectic 21st century lives come with a lot of pressure and there always seems to be time pressure, making every moment more precious; I know I’m a lot less patient with books I don’t enjoy than I used to be. We have to know how long movies are or how long we can expect to wait in a queue for the latest videogame. Now, to add more to our already busy lives, Reddit co-founder Alexi Ohanian’s new book is coming with a label telling you how long it should take you to read it.
His forthcoming book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made Not Managed (Business Plus), has a small mark on the back cover, indicating that the book is a “5-hour read,” equaling the approximate time it takes to fly from San Francisco to New York City. In a picture of the cover that Ohanian posted on imgur, he added, “Hope this becomes a trend — I believe we’re the first book to do it, yes?”
Are you sure? I mean, how do you know how long it’ll take me to read your book, Mr Ohanian? I may not read it all in one go or I might stop and start again. I’m not the only one that thinks this might be a bad idea, as Michelle Dean at Flavorwire said:
…the purpose isn’t so much informational as it is, I think, some sort of hilariously disciplining of both author and reader. A slow reader will feel guilty: a fast reader will feel pride; in both cases the feelings serve no useful purpose. For a writer of any real caliber the thing is actively self-debasing. This is an author saying to you: ‘I have written a book. Isn’t it great? It is, but it is only worth five hours of your time. It might take you longer to read War and Peace, sure, and you might have to do a couple of re-reads. But the whole sum of human knowledge on offer in this book: it’s five hours only. I’m just efficient like that.
Great. More guilt. I’ve already had therapy for that once. Would knowing how long it could take you to finish a book put you off? I think it’s likely going to put people off if they realize how long they’ll have to spend reading something like Fifty Shades of Grey… wait a minute, maybe that’s an idea after all!
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