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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