Trying Something Different

Though I’ve read a lot this year, mostly for the Good Story and SFFaudio podcasts, I find that a lot of books that I want to read still sit on the sidelines, unread or unfinished. I also have a bad habit of dropping books and audiobooks for other books and audiobooks, because – SQUIRREL!

What was I saying? Oh yeah, books. Focus.

I’d like to try something different.

What I came up with will require a little discipline, but it will help me (1) get through books that I want to have read, (2) restore balance to my reading, which for years has been too exclusively SFF, and (3) be flexible enough for me to know that I can get to a book in good time if I’m excited to read it.

I went through my various to-reads and discovered that the books I’ve listed fall generally into these categories:

BIOGRAPHY or HISTORY
CATHOLIC
EDUCATION
CLASSIC or GENERAL FICTION
SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/HORROR

I added one more to catch books that don’t fit into any of those:

ANYTHING

If I select books from my to-read lists that fit each of these categories, I’ll end up with a list of six books. The idea is to stick to that short list until I’ve read all of them. If a new shiny book comes to my attention, it can’t take the place of any of those six, but can be added to one of my to-read lists where it could be selected as one of the next group of six.

I’ve done this. The first group I’m going to read:

Jerusalem: A Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adams
Schools Cannot Do it Alone by Jamie Vollmer
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

Additional thoughts…

  • I am not a believer in forcing myself to finish a book I dislike. If I dislike one of these books, I’ll drop it, and note why I did so. “Dislike” is different from “difficult” or “challenging”. I’ll strive not to drop a book just because it’s slow going.
  • I’m involved with podcasts, which means I do have to allow for books that come up there to trump these. I’ve got one book a month for the Good Story podcast, and won’t do more than one novel per month at SFFaudio. After reading those podcast books, it’s back to the list for me.
  • If this list gets wearisome and I need something to break it up, I’ll turn to short stories. I have a large collection of those waiting to be read, too.

I hope I’ve reached a good balance here.
 

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2 Responses to Trying Something Different

  1. Jenny says:

    I very much like your category idea! How many will you read at once?

  2. Scott D. says:

    Right now, I’m into three of them… I started WHO FEARS DEATH on audio a few days ago, and am almost 3 hours in. You were right, it’s difficult so far. Violence; rape and female circumcision. I don’t understand what is happening to the main character yet. The narrator is excellent and the prose is too.

    I’ve read the first part of SCHOOLS CANNOT DO IT ALONE, and have just started JERUSALEM. Both of those are in print.

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