Eleven years ago when we moved to Austin I thought it might be informative/interesting to keep a record of all the books that I read. So I started a simple spreadsheet that keeps track of book titles, author names, number of pages, date completed, and whether a book was from my personal library or the public library. The personal library books are in one column and the public library books are in a second column. At the bottom of each column I add up the total pages from each category. This way I can keep a rough estimate of how many books I’ve read and where they’re from (home or the library).
It’s not really intended for anything other than just information so that I can see if I’m maintaining a roughly equivalent reading pace from year to year. It also uncovers some interesting tidbits like longest/shortest books (the longest is Crytonomicon at 1152 and the shortest is a book on ship modeling at 56 pages). I can also see how many books I’m reading per year, average pages, etc.
The coincidence is this: I just finished a library book and entered the data in the “library” column. When I looked down at the page totals I noticed that, since April 1, 2001 when I started keeping track, I’ve read 61,903 pages from library books (172 library books). Looking across at the “my library” column, I’ve read 201 books and a total of…. 61,903 pages. In eleven years’ time I’ve read exactly the same number of pages from the public library as from my personal collection. It’s a meaningless coincidence but I thought it was kind of cool.