Thursday, 30 March 2017

Quibans 57: Tolkien Reading Day

Edited version of a Cambridge News article, using only the first one of the ‘five things’:
Five things to do to celebrate Tolkien Reading Day

Have you ever muttered the words 'my precious' in a sinister tone? Mistaken an elderly gentleman with a giant white beard as Gandalf? Or bellowed 'you shall not pass!' to someone standing in your way?
The chances are that you've heard or done one of these things. And they all have one thing in common - apart from being somewhat anti-social, they are all references to author J.R.R Tolkien's universe.
Today (March 25) is Tolkien Reading Day, and what better way to commemorate the day than with a five things to do list:
1. Read all the Lord of the Rings books
Let's be honest - the books that distinguish Tolkien over the rest is his Lord of the Rings series. There's no better way to celebrate his work than to read his most recognised pieces.
Let's say the average person in Cambridge reads at least 300 words per minute.
According to a few sources, it takes approximately six hours and seven minutes to read the Fellowship of the Ring, four hours and 59 minutes to read The Two Towers, and six hours and seven minutes to read the Return of the King.
An estimation of around 17 hours proves it's possible. If you start now.

1) How many words are there in each book?
2) How many pages is each book?
3) Is it reasonable to read 300 words per minute?

1) 6 hours and 7 minutes = 6x60 + 7 = 367 minutes.  367 x 300 = 110,100 words.
4 hours and 59 minutes = 5x60 - 1 = 299 minutes.  299 x 300 = 89,700 words.
The third book is the same as the first one.  Surely it can’t be sensible to be so ‘accurate’ with the timings?  They are crying out to be rounded off…
2) A paperback book has about 250 words per page, so divide these numbers by 250 to get 440 and 360.
3) There are lots of ways to work this out.  One is for everyone to time themselves reading some text and then to work out their words-per-minute.
Any text can be used, but the first 184 words of The Fellowship of the Ring seem appropriate! 
When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar, and had been the wonder of the Shire for sixty years, ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpected return. The riches he had brought back from his travels had now become a local legend, and it was popularly believed, whatever the old folk might say, that the Hill at Bag End was full of tunnels stuffed with treasure. And if that was not enough for fame, there was also his prolonged vigour to marvel at. Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was much the same as at fifty. At ninety-nine they began to call him well-preserved ; but unchanged would have been nearer the mark. There were some that shook their heads and thought this was too much of a good thing; it seemed unfair that anyone should possess (apparently) perpetual youth as well as (reputedly) inexhaustible wealth.

Additional thoughts:
Go to and hover over the titles of the books.  Here they have the actual, accurate word counts.  They are: 187790, 156198 and 137115.  

Now calculate the actual length of time it would take to read them, using the reading speeds calculated earlier!

Quibans 85: Crime and Police figures

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