Festive Tasks: Door 1, Task 4 – Walled in by Books

Master Update Post HERE


Task 4: Australia has the world’s longest fence, the dingo fence, which at 3,436 miles (5529.7 kilometres) beats the Great Wall of China.

Using an average of 12 books / meter, or 4 books / foot as a guide, if you had to build a fence of your own to keep the dingos out, how long a fence could you build with the books in your library (real or virtual)?

The raw figures:

According to Librarything and Audible:

  • My library comprises a total of 12,836 books, which at 12 books / meter translates into 1,069.67 m (or 1.07 km).
  • Of these, I actually own 6,253 books, which translates into 521.08 m (or 0.52 km).  (And which also says something about my insanely outsized TBR …)
  • Of the books I own, 4,755 are present on my shelves as physical editions, which translates into 396.25 m (or 0.4 km).  (The rest are audiobooks — I don’t do Kindle.)

Putting this into actual geographical dimensions, the total contents of my library would get me more than 1/4 of the way along the Roman City Wall of Cologne, which was just under 4000 meters (or 4 kms) long, as well as almost all the way up Brocken mountain (aka Blocksberg) in the Harz range (1.141 m), better known as the place where the witches dance at midnight on Walpurgis Night (April 30).

Bronze plaque showing the location of Cologne’s Roman city wall, and surviving watch tower.
(Sources: here and here)

The Brocken (Blocksberg) in winter, and a 19th century depiction of Walpurgis Night.
(Source: Wikipedia)

The books I own would help me to a point higher than the highest point in the Siebengebirge (Seven Mountains) south of Bonn (460 m).

The Seven Mountains (photos mine)

Though, both of the above figures include audiobooks … yeah, right.

So let’s go with the books of wich I own physical copies … and which would get me all the way to the roof top of New York City’s Empire State Building (381 m) … and 1/3 of the way up its antenna (which takes the building’s height to 443 m).

My first visit to the Empire State Building … almost 30 years ago.
(And believe it or not, I still own — and wear — that T-shirt.)

5 thoughts on “Festive Tasks: Door 1, Task 4 – Walled in by Books

  1. That’s a nice fence you could build! Though, addmitedly, rather low 😉 and prone to destruction by rain and wind 😉 Still, in metaphysical sense, that’s a hell of an armor! 😀

    1. Well, they only asked for one layer … 🙂

      I‘m surprised myself, though, how far I would get.

      For the visuals of a more vertical arrangement, enter „shelfies“ or „bookshelves“ in the search box or click on the bookshelves link in the sidebar …

  2. Hah, my measly 1500 books, give or take a couple of hundred, wouldn’t get me very far, and I don’t even ‘do’ ebooks or audiobooks to make up more! So I’m well impressed by your Walls and Pylons of Books. At least I hope I’m making a dent in my TBR, even if I keep adding to it.

    1. If I live as long as most of the rest of my family (on my mother’s side, anyway), AND if continue reading at the pace of the past couple of years, I just might get to the bottom of my TBR. Provided I don’t keep adding to it at a faster pace than I take off books, that is … (which is of course precisely what I’m doing).

      Seriously, though, I have no expectation of ever finishing *all* of these books — e.g., some of them are on their just because they look interesting and I just *might* feel like reading them at some point. That’s OK, though! The point of having a library, after all, is so as to always find *something* that hits the right spot …

      1. “The point of having a library … is so as to always find something that hits the right spot—” Yes, this, absolutely. It’s almost like a precursor of the ‘memory box’ which therapists and counsellors often suggest one keeps, treasures to pick up and evoke a thought or experience from the past.

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