Recently, I was browsing through Google, trying to find a picture of the cover of a long-out-of-print book I have a copy of, when I came across the only webpage that had such a picture. Fine, but what stopped me in my tracks was the main URL: whatihaveread.net. Buh?
That is the URL for What I have read since 1974, and it is exactly -- if unimaginatively -- exactly as described. One Eric Leuliette of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder has kept track, since 1st grade, of every book he's ever read. He says in his FAQ that his mother started doing so because his school asked parents to keep track for a reading program, and he took over starting in the 5th grade. He's up to 2124 titles now, all numbered, with lots of data massaging.
While I, personally, have gone as far as cataloging the books I own* and attempt to shelve them in Dewey Decimal System order, this is WAY past the red line in obsessiveness in data collection. I mean, "Average length of book"? (224.85 pages.) " Average time spent to read a book"? (5.4 days.) Bar charts of pages read per year since 1974? (Peaks in 1982, 1983, and 1994.) And, of course, each of the 2124 books gets its own page, like the longest book he's read, #1365 (Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, 1432 pages completed on August 2, 1988). And I know it's the longest because, of course, there's a chart recording this data, too.
I have to admit, though, browsing through list going forward through time gives an interesting glimpse into Leuliette's development as a reader ("Hmm, he starts reading Young Adult books THERE. Oh, and I see the run of an obsession with Star Trek books in high school for awhile. Hmm, now the political biographies start. Oh look, a run of John McPhee books.").
I do wonder if he got anything out of Title #1664 in November 1994, though.
*The reason I was looking for the cover image in the first place, so I could insert it into my book catalog database, a program called Booxter, which takes the ISBN or UPC bar code info -- you can use your webcam or hook up your camcorder to function as a bar-code scanner -- and sucks up cataloging information from a variety of online library catalogs and booksellers to create its records. Normally, it downloads cover images, but older. obscure, or out-of-print books require a little human intervention.