Every week now more novels are published than Samuel Johnson had to deal with in a decade. If you had the riches of Croesus (or Bill Gates) you could, with a few hours‘ key-stroking, order up from Amazon.com some half-million novels to be Fedexed, rush delivery, in thirty-six hours. You would, of course, need a disused airplane hangar to keep the books in and a small army of forklifting stackers and fetchers to move the things. Given a reading career of fifty years, a 40-hour reading week, a 46-week working year and three hours per novel, you would, as I calculate, need 163 lifetimes to read them all. And very dull lifetimes they would be. More fun on the forklifts. […] Where to start? Is there any point in starting, or shaping one’s reading experiences? How can one organise a curriculum?
So umreißt der emeritierte Professor John Sutherland das Problem, für das er mit seinem Buch How to Read a Novel (2006) eine Hilfestellung geben will.