Art Garfunkel, 1/2 of the Simon & Garfunkel duo of the ’60s and early ’70s, and singer of the number one single of 1970, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, has read over 1,023 books since he started keeping count in June 1968. He recently published his list of books he has read to his web site. It is on his “Art Garfunkel Library” page. This page (actually several pages) is a very interesting read. And keeping a list of books read is not so strange as it sounds, I hope. For I also have been keeping a list, but only since September 1992, when I added “A is for Alibi” by Sue Grafton to my list.

Rather than just for pure list keeping reasons, initially anyway, my list was to help me understand programming. I purchased Microsoft Access version 1.o when it came out (for an introductory $99!) and needed something to create a table for, then to create queries and reports. A book list, I found, was the perfect object I could manipulate in Access. I learned Access so well I took it to work and started using it in the accounting department where I trained employees to use it. It was better than a spreadsheet for inputting repetitious items like, customer name, date paid, invoice number, amount, credit card type, etc.

My book list survived a job change and I said farewell to Access. I had enough books in the list that I didn’t want to discard it, so the list gained a life of its own. I now keep it in an Excel spreadsheet. Art has out-read me, but hey, he had a head start. I have 355 books on my list. I am impressed by Art’s list containing books that I would like to read, am curious about and by reading some of them, maybe add to my self delusion that I may have some ember of intelligence near my temporal lobes.

Art’s first book on his list is “The Confessions” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Man, that is impressive, seriously. In July 1969, he read #32 Hamlet. I read Hamlet in February 2004, #289. The “No Fear Shakespeare” copy was my version. He has read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach, number #67 in September 1972. Me too. It’s not on my list though because I read it before I started keeping the list.

His list is erudite. My list is like: Tony Hillerman (Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee), Martha Grimes, Jonathan Gash (Lovejoy), Colin Dexter (Inspector Morse), John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey), Umberto Eco, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, and some non-fiction by Stephen Covey, Michael Hammer, and others. On this link a fan asks him if he watches television. His answer is “I watch sports. NBA play-offs, baseball, some CNN, evening news, Letterman. Never 7pm-11pm TV.” I know what you mean Art. Mind if I read a couple of books from your list?