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What is a book?

If you had to specify criteria for some sort of goal or challenge (like, say, the 50-book challenge), how would you define what a book is?

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
volta
May. 1st, 2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
When I have participated in such things, my personal cut-off was page count. Anything under 100 pages I would not count as a book. That was a self-imposed restriction, though, the challenges always left that determination up to the individual reader. I think that makes good sense; to a serious reader several hundred pages a day might not be a big deal, but for a non-reader a hundred pages a week might be a real challenge. If the goal is to encourage people to read more, the flexibility of letting the reader define what counts as a book for them could help to not "scare off" those folks who could most benefit from the challenge.
spwebdesign
May. 1st, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
I want to be able to quantify it in a way that a majority of people could agree that, yes, this meets the criteria for a book. (There would only be one participant in this challenge, myself.) So, are you saying the criteria to be met should page count, but that the number of pages is subjective depending on what I might feel counts as a book?

See, for my book tracking I've been counting children's picture books (of which I tend to read one or two a year) as books, although they are heavily illustrated and are extremely short. So, for the purposes of this hypothetical challenge I couldn't include them because I don't think they would pass scrutiny.

If the criteria is page count, what is the magic number which would raise the fewest objections?

(I have no idea if I'm explaining myself at all.)
volta
May. 2nd, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
Page count was what I chose for myself, but I do not think it is the only legitimate way to go. I read a lot of short fiction, particularly since getting the kindle a few years back; it seemed "obvious" to me that a ~30 page piece was not a "book", but a half-dozen or so in a collection was, so I set my fuzzy guideline accordingly. I do not recall if I ever mentioned that to any of the other participants in the various challenges/groups, but I suspect I did not. I certainly did not receive any feedback either way about it, so I can not speak to what other people would or would not find acceptable.

I certainly did not raise any complaints about any of the things other people tracked as "books", and I would not be bothered by someone who was clearly a reader including a couple of short books like your children's books in their list. If that sort of thing made up the majority of what a particular participant included in their reading list I might take the opportunity to recommend some more challenging books, to help that person broaden their horizons, though!

I think you are explaining yourself just fine. Now that I have a better idea of what you are asking and why you are asking it, I think I am not well qualified to help you define your criteria.
jwg
May. 2nd, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC)
If you use page count you would have to take into account font size. A large print book has many less words on a page so a 100 page one might only be 50 pages in normal print.

How about if it has a cover and a binding? i.e. if it looks like a book it is a book.

I wrote the above before I looked this up in the Dictionary on my Imac:

Book
1. a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers: a book of selected poems | a book on cats.
elgatocurioso
May. 2nd, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC)
There are books of all sizes and readability so I would be afraid of cutting out legitimate books by using an arbitrary definition.

I might phrase my criteria as a workcount average across all 50 books, and make up a kids book, or short novel, with another more lengthy one.

I think 60,000 words average across the 50 books would convince me that you had successfully completed a 50 Book Challenge.

Edited at 2013-05-02 04:57 pm (UTC)
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