Tracey Mendrek, Senior Consultant

Last week I learned that Dick Costolo, CEO at Twitter, and I have something in common.  We are both currently reading “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain.  I know this because at the end of the day, instead of reading my book I perused Twitter.  I recently heard Mr. Costolo speak at an Economic Club event and have to admit that I would have expected a loftier reading list from the guy who only talks about strategic goals with his board.  But at the same time it gave me pause to think that good old-fashioned reading, the kind where you aren’t trying to better yourself or keep up with the latest book club entry, is how it was meant to be.

Because I do crazy things like this, I went back and consulted my book list over the past few years to see if I could draw any conclusions about what social media has done to my “pages read” category.  My goal when I started my list in 2009 was to read over 10,000 pages a year.  No other stipulations, any type of book, no restriction on the size of the font, simply record what I read.

Of course 2009 was a banner year, 9,906 pages read from “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan, the story of Frank Lloyd Wright’s relationship with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, to “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami to four books from the Harry Potter series, read for the second time.

2010 was the year of the book-turned-movie reading list; “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert and another Harry Potter reread for a grand total of 7,371 pages.  2011 entries included “You Know When the Men Are Gone” by Siobhan Fallon, another running book, “Mile Markers” by Kristin Armstrong and the life changing “Veganist” by Kathy Freston.  Once again the total pages read slipped lower to 6,470.  With only a few weeks left in 2012, despite the Hunger Games series and “The Paris Wife” I will be below 6,400 pages read.

For the record, Twitter was launched in July 2006. As noted on, Twitter moved up to the third-highest-ranking social networking site in January 2009 from its previous rank of twenty-second.  The rest as they say is history: 400 million tweets in ALL of 2008 to 340 million tweets per DAY in 2012.

I am guilty as charged. Social media, specifically Twitter, has cut into my reading for pleasure time.  The upside is, no intruder would make it through my door because my bedside table is loaded with tombs in the “still to be read pile” useful as projectiles.

And finally, since this is the time of year for lists here is what is on my to-read list for 2013:

  • “Boss”  by Mike Royko
  • “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
  • “Unbroken”  by Laura Hillenbrand
  • “Breaking Night”  by Liz Murray