I started work late last year for a company based in St Leonards. This means everyday I spend over an hour each direction in transit as I travel to and from home in Sutherland. This now affords me a very significant amount of time disconnected from the Internet and somewhat alone.

Now instead of frittering away such time studying the many details of the scenery passing by the carriage window, I have decided instead to spend it reading. Real books that is, not magazines nor MX. It is one of my resolutions this year to spend more money on books than DVDs and CDs, and more time reading than watching television.

Therefore my goal is to complete 48 books in 12 months (i.e. 4 a month). A book generally counts if it has more than 75 pages with a standard word density per page - so no children's books or comics. There is no limitation on genre which means all topics and styles are readable.

The primary reason for this undertaking, apart from occupying my train time, is to stimulate my mind. Reading a book requires a mental investment far beyond that demanded by TV and the internet. It forces you to participate in ways like grappling with the author's reasoning, or through the images evoked in the imagination, or also through the comprehension of new knowledge or a new paradigm. It's impossible to passively read a book and so I'm hoping to have mind broadened.

Another reason is that I am no longer content to leave culture defining literature unread. Many times I have been told of a book worth reading but only got so far as thinking I should read it. No more. If a book is worth reading I am determined to read it.

So that is the challenge. Right now I have completed 6 books and am about to complete the 7th. Only 41 to go.

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