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    I think I could if I really set my mind to it. Last year I read 54.
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    Normal speed, I guess. Why?
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    That's because living off the state a person becomes marginalised but when working they meet a wider range of people which helps in character development.
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    If you are getting money from the state, it'll be hard to break the habit, but once you are earning real money, although it might not be much, you will be on the way to getting a life. If I'd been born into money I would have no qualms about not working, but the reality is that the vast majority of us have to work to provide for ourselves and it is right and proper that we do so.
    There used to be a 'song' by Elvis Presley that had the badly rhyming couplet ' It's Saturday night and I just got paid. Don't care about my money, don't try to save.' Well he would say that wouldn't he? Because his handlers wanted to encourage youngsters to go out and spend all their money on the rubbish they were pushing out. At least he was honest enough to say 'The business I'm in has nothing to do with music.' If it were true then, it's even truer today and I only mention it as an example of how there are people who simply live from one pay day to the next without thinking of the future.
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    With regard to E-readers, they appear to be the future and will probably replace paper books at some point this century and have obvious advantages over ordinary books.
    My own inclination is to stick with paper but I say good luck to those who go for the E format; especially as some of the classics are given free.
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    I'm sorry to read that you don't have a job; especially at this moment when the unemployment rate is still very high in the USA. It seems to vary in different parts of the country but I would say that getting paid employment is the first and most important step to getting a life. The second is to save regularly and never ever go into the red on your account and, when everyone else is buying, do the opposite and save. That's how I was able to stay unemployed for a year without stress during a bad patch .When I did get back to work, I stayed in the job for eleven years even though I disliked the district where I worked. During that time I saved a good deal again so that when I fell out with a man who took over the department I worked for, I was able to walk away from the job without undue qualms. Having money means that you don't have to take any nonsense from people no matter how senior they may be. In other words, it is the only thing that guarantees your independence.
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    Even today, I never go to a cashpoint without checking my balance before drawing money. It doesn't mean living like a hermit but that you spend what you have earned wisely rather than giving it to a lot of hucksters who want to sell you something that everyone else is buying. I have found it a good idea not to follow the herd, because thinking for oneself allows a person to see the wood and not just the trees.
    This doesn't mean that I haven't made mistakes. In one instance I was in a position to make a good deal of money with very little risk and I passed it up out of indolence but I still had enough money to do more or less what I wanted to because I didn't set my sights too high and lived within my means. On the other hand, had I followed my inclination and gone ahead with the deal, I would have been able to retire a lot earlier than I did and would now be living in the south of France, which in European terms is about as good as it gets.
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    As I have said earlier in this correspondence, personal experience is always better than that received through literature; which by it's nature is second-hand and may not relate to what you have experienced or want to experience yourself. There are people who have never read a book but have done things equal to anything that one might read in novels. Sitting in an armchair surrounded by thousands of books is an artificial substitute for life itself even though we may have enjoyed what they contain. None of the writers that might be able to help you could do so without having experienced life above and beyond the ability to put it into writing. Writers can make the mundane interesting by their skill in presentation but that doesn't mean that their readers should accept it as a substitute for their own lives.
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    You could be right, I really don't know as I haven't counted them, there is also the fact that I have re read some of them a number of times. In the long run it doesn't matter how many books someone reads, so much as what they have read. The main concerns are whether one has enjoyed them and whether anything has been learned from them.
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    I don't know exactly but I suppose it would be several hundred. I don't read much these days as I have other things to do but if something is of particular interest I will find time for it. Modern writers don't interest me and one of the useful things about this forum is that I can get some idea of what's being written nowadays and thus avoid wasting time on books that don't seem to me to be worth reading.
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