tl;drDecember 18, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 2 Comments
I ran across this semi-acronym a while ago and thought it was a typo. Then I saw it again and realized it was just another new term I hadn’t picked up yet. I think it’s a sign of aging when you find yourself having to use an online dictionary to learn new slang, because nobody in your social circle is using it. Anyway, if you didn’t already know, tl;dr means “too long; didn’t read.”
I find this ironic for a couple of reasons. First, it’s funny that someone who thought something was too long to read would think that typing four words was also too long, necessitating the introduction of a five-character acronym. Wouldn’t it have been faster to just use an existing word like ‘skip’ or ‘not’? Or maybe just the character K. (Since X is taken and K could be short for “…’kay, whatever.”) I dunno. The other irony about tl;dr is that it was invented by a generation that is willing to read mammoth books like Harry Potter and Twilight. I also appreciate that tl;dr is meant to be an insult, though it seems to me that simply ignoring something you didn’t like would both save time and perhaps be more painful to the entity on the receiving end of the insult.
Musing on the concept of tl;dr got me to thinking more about my TBR list. Funny, I thought, tl;dr even sounds a bit like TBR. Indeed, my list is too long; therefore I haven’t read these books yet. I’d already broken the ice by cutting out about 200 books I felt fairly sure I would never read. I decided to get serious and try to bust it down below 1000. (And I did it! I’m below 900 right now).
One of the ruthless measures I took was to look at (*gasp*) the page count of the books on my list. I decided that anything over 350 pages was going to have to prove its relevance, either by winning a major literary award or receiving a rating from reviewers over four stars. A year ago I would never have considered something so crass. After reading 394 books in a year, though, I’m finally ready to be a bit more mercenary.
Let’s say I managed to sustain a pace of reading 150 books a year – my average rate before 2008, the Year of Madness. Now let’s say that I run across maybe one book a week that’s published in the current year that I wish to read. That leaves me reading roughly 100 books a year from my existing list, which means it would take me ten years to catch up. There are only three ways around this: Keep reading at a less sane rate, stop being interested in new books, or give up on some of those aspirational titles.
Now I’m working on convincing myself that there’s no real reason to try to catch up on the last ten years of titles from Oprah’s book club.