Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Edna and Her 20,800 Books

The U.K.'s Edna Foulds has borrowed an amazing 20,800 books from her local library over the last forty years. Now assuming that she read at least 90% of the books she borrowed, that comes out to an astounding pace of reading well over a book per day for forty years. I can't imagine that many people have managed to read at that pace for such a long period of time, so this has to be close to some kind of record.

It is estimated that pensioner Edna Foulds has borrowed an amazing 20,800 books over the past 40 years from her local library.

However, an even more staggering fact is that the 85-year-old great-grandmother has only ever had to pay one fine.

But with an intake of ten a week, Mrs Foulds, from Redcar, east Cleveland, still struggles to name a favourite.

"I just love reading," she says, sitting next to a stack of novels waiting to be devoured and recorded in her black book, where she catalogues the tomes she has borrowed.

The number of books she has taken out must run into many more thousands, because she first joined a library as a child in Leeds, when she checked out Edgar Rice Burroughs' tale of Tarzan.

A member of Redcar Library, in Roseberry Square, since it opened on February 22, 1967, her status as the branch's longest- established and keenest borrower was rewarded this week.
advertisement

She was given a place of honour at the opening of a new library following development work in the square and, naturally, she was allowed to borrow the first book.
I started keeping a list of the books I read a long time ago so that I wouldn't inadvertently buy duplicates or bring them home from the library. But let's just say that Edna has out-read me by a substantial margin and that she should not be concerned with me breaking her record. I'd have to live four or five lifetimes to read 21,000 books. Well done, Edna.

19 comments:

  1. If I live as long as she has, and I keep checking out books at the rate I do, I might kind of rival here--the catch is that I don't always read everything I check out!! That's amazing. Just think how much money she has saved by borrowing rather than buying! Let's see, 50-ish books read a year, for 40 years...no, she doesn't have to worry about me breaking her record either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. If there was ever an award for readers I think she'd have to win it. (Take that, Howard Bloom! :P)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a new hero, and her name is Edna.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No matter what happens to you in this world if you develop a love of reading you need NEVER feel lonely :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I second what Bybee said. I want to be Edna Foulds when I grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Danielle, I may have at one time or another actually read three books in three days but I can't even imagine reading more than a book a day every day for forty years. That is almost unbelievable. Edna must be both a very fast reader and a very consistent one.

    ReplyDelete
  7. She's got to be right up there, for sure, Sylvia. I've never heard of numbers like those for such a long period of time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Edna's right there on my list of heroes, too, bybee. :-0

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nick, that's exactly right, in my experience. Books have gotten me through some long periods of isolation in much better shape than I would have ended up without them. It's also impossible to be bored when surrounded by books.

    ReplyDelete
  10. J.S., you can't wait until you grow up...Edna started over 40 years ago. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm with Bybee. And Edna needs to start blogging! I'd be right there to read her blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. thats my nan she always has a book in her lap when we go round and yes she is my hero

    ReplyDelete
  13. You're right, Gentle Reader...Edna would certainly have a lot to say in a book blog of her own. Her picture makes me think that she's a nice lady, one whom we would all enjoy getting to know.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for stopping by, Scott. Edna must really be something. As you can tell, everyone here really admires (and envies) her lifetime of reading and we all wish her the best.

    Please tell her hello for all of us and that we wish her the best.

    ReplyDelete
  15. hi thanks for all your nice comments i will print them off and show her she doesnt understand the internet but she will love all these nice thing being said about her
    thank you all again

    ReplyDelete
  16. Also in a Dutch journal we read with interest about this reading record. Congratulations to reading lady Edna Foulds and also to Redcar and its library!
    Hans Krol
    Heemstede

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hans, it appears that Edna has become somewhat of a folk hero to the readers of the world, doesn't it.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete