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Old 9th Aug 2010, 10:30   #1
chrisphillips
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Default How to decide what to read next...

I would like to bring this nice little article to the Palimpsphere's attention:

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog...t-to-read.html

If you get the chance for a wider browse the Norm Geras blog is excellent.

Anyway, how do you decide what to read next? I resolved to read no more than one book per author this year, but that rule is being broken as I speak with my second Roth. The idea was that 2011 would focus upon deeper investigations of the authors I enjoyed the most in 2010, so we'll see how we get on there...

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Old 9th Aug 2010, 11:19   #2
ono no komachi
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Default Re: How to decide what to read next...

I have this exact dilemma at the moment. My TBR books are interspersed with all the rest, mostly grouped by author, but not always, (all my Penguin modern classics are together for example), so I have to go and browse all my shelves. Sometimes the decision can take me days. Yesterday, thankfully, it took me mere seconds to choose my bedtime book as I remembered I'd read a couple of pages of A Meaningful Life on the day it had arrived, so it was an obvious pick. Having been submersed in the period swashbuckling adventure of This Thing of Darkness I was ready for something, well, still period but much more recent.

I do usually look for a contrast with the previous read; but then on occasion I'll be eager for more of the same. I still need to choose my drawing-room reader.
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Old 9th Aug 2010, 12:14   #3
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Default Re: How to decide what to read next...

I rearranged my shelves the other night into a few categories:
  1. Penguin Classics
  2. English Language Fiction
  3. Foreign Language Fiction
  4. Hardbacks
  5. Books I Want Rid Of But Will Read First
  6. Vintage Classics / Telegram / Pushkin / Peirene
The idea here will be to read alternately between them all. Category Five are not immediately visible, being behind Category Six, so picking from that section will be a lucky dip.

It may kickstart my reading, as I spend ages dithering over what to read, telling myself there's nothing to choose from (despite there being thousands). Having just finished a Booker nominee, I now find my reading invigorated by picking up a volume of poetry in Scots, which I would normally put off until - well, forever - but I'm forcing myself through and, as I go, finding I'm enjoying it and so it's not really reading by force at all. Perhaps by dithering over what to read, and eventually opting for something, I build up my expectations of it too much and either abandon it or come away disappointed. Now, who knows how much more pleasurable my reading can become.

(I do expect this enthusiasm, however, to die away within a week. )
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Old 15th Aug 2010, 13:41   #4
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Default Re: How to decide what to read next...

Like ono, most of my tbr's are scattered on shelves (This Thing of Darkness one of them) and I completely whittled down the bedside pile whilst on hols so now can browse freely. Sometimes I'm happy to let titles nag at me for a few years before I pick them up and then realise I was foolish not to do so before - like meeting a friend two years later than I could have done: Possession (so far) being a case in point. Then again, I will happily force myself to pick up volumes that have been unappealing in size or period and give myself a change from contemporary fiction. I'm not buying much YA fiction at the moment but I'll enjoy a welcome break from the over-serious, sometimes too worthy and self-reflective world of adult fiction, by reading YA fiction inbetween other books. (Though YA can be more serious than adult fiction sometimes.)

I'd usually choose something of a different length to my previous read, and a different style unless I'm suddenly fixated on an author; but I don't make any hard and fast rules about limiting my choices: my last three reads have been tomes of 500-600+ pages but not oppressively so.
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