Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: 102 days down (+ Freakonomics)

This entry is part 24 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

The stars have aligned.

Following whatever it was I read last I read Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics. Two books about ‘rogue’ economics, utilising stats and data to show such things as how teachers cheat and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance.

And, in reading the latter of these two books, I also passed an exciting milestone in this very challenge.

That’s right (assuming you just guessed and got it right) we’ve passed the 100-day mark of Man vs Bookshelf, reaching 102 days in finishing this book.

So, bearing this in mind and considering the fact I’ve not got all that much to say about Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics I thought I’d eschew the normal blog format and change things up a bit.

First, I’ll do a bit of a review of the books (just to keep people happy) then I’m going to jump into some stats around 102 days of Man vs Bookshelf.

Doesn’t that sound exciting?

No wait, don’t answer.

Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics

When I say brief, I mean brief.

I’ve already given you the thrust of these books above. Written by an economist and a journalist they examine an eclectic range of interesting stats based issues.

Covering match-fixing in sumo wrestling, honour-based muffin sales, and even the names we give our children, there really is plenty here to dig your teeth into.

It’s well written, and pull no punches. It’s funny, at times, and genuinely engaging throughout.

I don’t think you have to be some stats nut to enjoy this book, and it’s not economics in the way most of us would identify with the concept.

I gave it a 3/5 on Goodreads, but it’s probably closer to a 7/10 on a proper scale (Which Goodreads doesn’t use).

So give it a go, find out something new. There’ll be plenty of facts here that’ll make you turn to your partner and insist on telling them, whether they want to hear it or not.

You won’t learn anything of value, but you’re reading, so who wants that?

Man vs Bookshelf: The first 102 Days

Okay, so let’s check out the stats in their basic form, below, then I’ll talk about them a bit.


The numbers

Days into challenge


Books read


Benchmark days




Days remaining


Original predicted end


Current predicted end


Days/ Book


Predicted end based on current read rate


Pages read


Pages/ book


Pages/ day


Days into challenge: 102

First off, congratulations.

Thank you!

I don’t think I’ve ever committed to anything for so long (gives subtle glance at girlfriend who has actually well outlasted this number).

But in all seriousness, I’ve started plenty of challenges before. Set myself many targets, and I never commit.

Yes, I’ve a long way to go. Years, in fact, but I’m still loving this challenge, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Books read: 28

Many of you will now be remembering there are 210 books in this challenge in total, realising I’m over the 10% hurdle and will be clapping like mad men and women, tears in your eyes.

I appreciate that.

I’m actually 13.33% of the way through (don’t do me down) and excited to be here.

We’ve had some good books (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Good Omens), some great books (Big Little Lies, Lisey’s Story) and at least one stinker (Silence).

But that was the point, wasn’t it? To go through an eclectic mix of books and so far, it’s working well.

Besides, reading the bad books only makes me stronger.


Benchmark Days: 196; Difference: 94

Now some of you will be thinking, ‘Mark, where did I leave my shoes?’.

I can’t help you with that, but if you were wondering what benchmark days is, then I’m better placed to offer answers.

(try the cupboard under the stairs).

This challenge allocates seven days (commonly referred to as a week) per book.

That means I had 196 days to read 28 books. That’s the benchmark.

Happily, this only took me 102 days, and so we have a difference of 94.

That’s pretty good.

Days Remaining: 1372/1470; Original Predicted End: 20/10/2021; Current Predicated End: 21/07/2021

In the first 102 days, I’ve managed to move the predicted finish date by three months.

And that’s if it takes me 7 days per book for the rest of the challenge.


Days/ Book: 3.64; Predicted end based on current read rate: 15/11/2019

Of course, it’s not been taking me seven days a book, and there is no reason it should going forward.

At an average read of 3.64 days per book, I’m reading just under two books a week.

Should I progress under this steam (some feat considering I have books like The Stand and Under the Dome by Stephen King to read at some point) then I will finish this challenge by mid-November 2019.

Just over two years after I started.

That would be pretty good, wouldn’t it?

Pages read: 9,037; Pages/ book: 322.75; Pages/ day: 89

And finally, we come to the meat of the books.

I know many of you think I’m just sitting around reading pamphlet size books.

But you’re wrong, and I don’t appreciate the accusation.

In 102 days I’ve totalled over 9,000 pages and read 89 pages per day.

That’s including days off, of which there has been at least a couple.

My average book stands at over 300 pages.

Obviously page number doesn’t speak to font or page size or anything like that, and if I had the information I would bring you word count.

But I don’t, so let’s just assume each of these pages is the size of a marquee, and the font is size 6.

Sound fair?

Next Time

I hope you have enjoyed this blog.

Sometimes it’s good to do something different, I think. Who wants to read boring reviews time after time?

Not me!

Still, next time out, normal service (as much as such a thing exists in this series) will be resumed.

It’ll be another double, and a return to Douglas Adams after only a few blogs.

It’s Dirk Gently 1 and 2.

See you then.

Series Navigation<< Man vs Bookshelf: The Hard WayMan vs Bookshelf: Dirk Gently (1 & 2) >>
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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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