Consider author Rosalie Maggio for a Nobel Prize in Reading. The
compiler of The Beacon Book of Quotations by Women and
The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women tells us she’s
read 9,592 books by women and 747 books by men, though the latter
figure dates only from around 1997 (and both numbers have
undoubtedly grown by the time you read this). Maggio knows exact
figures because she maintains lists.
‘I have to check [the lists] to see if I’ve read something,’ she
says. ‘So many books are familiar, but I don’t know if it’s because
of reading them or reading about them.’
Lest anyone assume that all Maggio does is sit around and read
books, we’ll set the record straight. She also gardens at her home
in the mountains of Southern California, travels (to Iowa and
Paris), corresponds voluminously, writes books and screenplays (one
current project is based on the life of French aviatrix Marie
Marvingt), engages in local politics, and spends time with her
husband and three adult children. Among other things.
If Maggio seems modest about having reading more than 10,000
books (‘That’s not really very many, is it?’ she asks), perhaps
it’s because she still has so many books to read.