Monday, January 19, 2015

Crushing the Bug-crusher

To start off, the term "bug-crusher" in the S/F world (S/F meaning "speculative fiction," "science fiction," or "sci-fi/fantasy" depending on who you ask) refers to HUGE books, at least 700+ pages or 3 in. thick, that can easily be used to crush small-ish insects. In their purest form bug-crushers tend to be hardback rather then paperback for that extra heft needed to kill.

However, bug crushers need not be limited to the SF genres, recently I've been reading histories and my current project is Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. It's a monster of a book coming it at 910 pages, 750 of which are actual content and not notes or the index. I started the book before Christmas 2014, but have been struggling to finish it, even with my two weeks of vacation. When I'm in the story it's very interesting, but after putting it down picking it up again seems such a chore, and not just because it's soooooo heavy.

To finish the book I began employing a tool I used to get through horrible reading assignments.

Step 1: Figure out the number of pages you have left to read.
Step 2: Divide that number by the number of days you have left to read the book (in my case it was either the due date of the assignment or the library due date).
Step 3: Read the resulting amount of pages each day.

Sounds simple right? It should be but isn't always because... life. One tip is to keep the number of pages manageable, 100 pages is just a little too much, 50 or 60 isn't too bad, but 20 or 30 is very doable. The other tip is to use two bookmarks to keep track of how far you have to read, please see Exhibit A.

Exhibit A
I'm almost done! (It's an excellent read, btw).

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