Monday, March 25, 2013

How Do You Decide What to Read Next?

My entire house is pretty much a TBR pile. I have almost come to the point where once I read a book I either pass it on if I liked it or donate it to the library sales if I didn't. When Borders went under, I bought over a hundred books from them--I have read one.

So deciding what to read next is always chore. I pick a book up, read a page or two, and put it down. Same with another and another. Finally something grabs me. So it is very unsystematic.It almost drives me crazy latching on to the right book some days.

How do you decide what to read next?


Richard said...

I have hundreds, nay, thousands of unread books here, or so it seems. The difference is, for me, deciding what to read next isn't a chore, it's a blast. Hard to choose with so many tempting books calling out to me.

Anonymous said...

I have lots of unread books too, though I doubt if it's anywhere near as many as you have.

The thing is, the library books almost always have to come first, which cuts down on the choices.

But if I have no library books (rare, but it happens) sometimes it can indeed become a problem to choose, unless there is something I know I want to read NOW.

I think "I should read that" but it's too long, the next one doesn't grab me immediately, I don't want to read a mystery... you get the picture.

Jeff M.

Dana King said...

For several years I have kept a spreadsheet of all the books I read, with brief comments about each. The problem was, books an authors would fll through the cracks and I'd never get to them, even if they were favorites.

Last year I came up with a table of all the books and authors I want to read. That quickly grew to over a hundred, and it's not a comprehensive list. Plus, i still became aware of new books and auhtors all the time.

So, this year i combined the two. When I get a book Ive decided I wantt o read, I slot it into the Books Read spreadsheet, in advance. Right now my next 20 books to read are queued up, some of which I don't own yet. It's anal-retentive, I know, but i feel better knowing a book that captures my fancy that i know i can't read right away isn't going to fall off the radar.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am guessing I have over two thousand. And yes, I read the library books first.
I used to tell myself well, the kids can sell them when I die. But now I am not sure they will be worth anything. Or people will even know what they are.
See, Dana, I never know what I want to read until I start reading. It follows much the same path as my writing.

George said...

Like Jeff, I have to read the library books first. But, I try to alternate the library books with books I buy. Of course, I drop EVERYTHING when a really good book shows up like MAGIC HIGHWAYS by Jack Vance.

Anonymous said...

Dana, I have a database (well, actually two - one fiction and one non fiction) of every book I've read since May of 1975, The fiction list has another 575 read going back to early 1969 (from earlier diaries and lists) plus another 330 or so that I can only vaguely date from earlier years.

So yes, I understand anal.


Jeff M.

Dan_Luft said...

Yeah, sometimes the bookshelf looks like an enormous stack of 78s. This is going to ba a year of choices for me. The "office" is going to be prepped as a kid's room for my son getting his own room. I don't really mind because I've never been a hardback reader so the shelves look like what they are, a bunch of beat up paperbacks.

I'm ditching everything in public domain. I can find it for free online. Also, I'm getting rid of most of my MapBacks, only keeping the ones by authors I actually read (no matter how cool the cover art).

I did this with over a thousand vinyl records a few years ago -- half my record collection.

Randy Johnson said...

My TBR pile is constantly evolving. I have books I intend to read, then something else catches my eye and slips in ahead of my planned order. Occasionally stuff gets shuffled to the bottom, but never out of mind.

Like you, my whole house is a TBR pile. And with the new craze on ebooks, the in-the-ether pile is growing as well.

The main pile beside the desk is what I usually work from and constantly update it.

So many choices, so little time, the constant plight of the reader.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ain't life grand.

Gerard said...

Mood and random selection. I've been reading a Peter Temple book after a Friday recommendation.

Chris said...

What's even worse is my wife coming to me, "I need a book, what should I read next?" It's hard enough to decide for myself, let alone someone else.

Gerard said...

And with the new craze on ebooks, the in-the-ether pile is growing as well.

One of my main reasons to not convert to digital readers.

Jerry House said...

I've stop collecting books. I'm now holding on to just the books I haven't read, so the entire house is a TBR pile. I tend to read multiple books by the same author one after another; this week, for example, I read five older books by Ed Gorman. I also try for a decent mix of old and new books. I drop everything for new books by certain authors: Bill Crider, Ed Gorman, Max Allan Collins, Joe R. Lansdale, etc.

I also rely heavily on library books. Maryland does not have a great selection of books that I'm interested in, so I have to request a lot of interlibrary loan books from outside the state. (The ILL process is slow and prone to error here, so I have learned patience and have had to request the same item several times.)

Coming up are older books by Crider, Gorman, and Lansdale, as well as books by Fritz Leiber, Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, Charles L. Grant, Philip Wylie, H. Rider Haggard, and who knows what else.

Cap'n Bob said...

What I read next depends a lot on what I read last. If I polished off a few Westerns I might choose a mystery. If I read a batch of short stories, a novel is on tap. Something classic will be followed by something new, and so on. Once in a while a subject or author will dictate a spot atop the pile, but that's rare.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I read cross-genre books at random but I ensure that I read at least one humourous book like, say, a P.G. Wodehouse, after every three books.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's not an easy one, Patti. For me, it partly depends on my mood, and partly depends on how much of my TBR is by favourite authors. Oh, and of course, if it's a matter of library books, I read them first because of needing to return them.

Anonymous said...

Even if I have a plan for what I'm going to read next, fate (usually in the form of the library request list) generally intervenes. I don't like to read too many books in a row by the same author because after about the third one, no matter how good, I start getting burnt out. I try to read about one non-fiction for every two fiction books, but that's just a rule if thumb. I think if you read a lot and aren't trying to read something for a club, class, or research, the next book sometimes selects itself as opposed to being selected.


Charles Gramlich said...

When I'm getting ready to pick a new book, I often take five or six of the ones I'm most eyeing and carry 'em to the couch. I then sit for a few moments and read opening paragraphs and back cover blurbs on each one before making a final decision. I enjoy it.

Anders E said...

I'm pretty organized. I have a list in numbered Word format, organized according to library classification. I have at the moment 616 books in my TBR "pile". However, the fiction part of this I intend to read in chronological order, as a (very) long term project. I recently entered 1960 ("To Kill a Mockingbird" really was all it was supposed to be). I'm currently reading Donald Hamilton's "Death of a Citizen" and so far it is terrific. However, sometimes I take a break and do some non-fiction, anything from the Weimar Republic to Swedish punk rock.