Weekly Geeks 2009-35: Picking the books I read

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks has an interesting topic this week. One I have tap danced with talking about myself for about a year because I’ve been asked this question before. So while I’m prepping Part II of my Star Trek Original Series Season highlights, I’ll go ahead and post this.

This week’s topic wants us to talk about how we pick the books that we read next.

Do you have a plan of what you’re going to read the rest of the year? Have you had a master plan all along? If so, have you stuck to it? What helps you to decide what you’re going to read next? Challenges? Book groups? Or do you have the luxury of closing your eyes and picking any book off your shelf?

I know some of you have spreadsheets and other devices to help you keep track of your books and challenges. (I even succumbed to using a spreadsheet this year after teasing my friends relentlessly about theirs.) If you have online spreadsheets, such as Google, can you give us a peek at them with a link or a screen shot?

Spreadsheets? No. Do I have a plan for what I read? Not really. Like life, I am pretty much making it up as I go along.  Some of my books are picked by topic or author, some by friend recommendations, some by reading reviews on Amazon.com in a genre I enjoy.  When I find books I enjoy, I add them to my Amazon wish list and check to see if it’s on paperbackswap.com.  If it is, it’ll either go in my Wish List or Reminder List over there too.  I’ll then print off some of these lists and take them to Chamblin Bookmine here in Jax to see if I can get them there.  This is how I acquire 99% of my books.

Chamblin Bookmine

After I get the books, I have a drawer in my bedroom armoire (two drawers, actually) that hold the majority of this “to be read” pile.  That pile is big.  I’m putting a dent in it, but I keep adding to it at the same time.  It’s a sickness.  I need to read through it some more before I get more books but I can’t stop.  I need help.  But my pile is no where near as big as some others.

I don’t pick up EVERYTHING that I see, that would be ridiculous.  I have probably 20-30 books in my “to be read pile”.  Every two weeks or so I read a book so it’s getting whittled down.  One rule that keeps my book pile down is I usually don’t read hardbacks.  I used to, but they are too expensive, harder to transport and to read and there’s no reason I can’t wait for paperback and get it cheaper or even used.  It took me YEARS to read Da Vinci Code because the book was so popular it took forever to get in paperback.  For this same reason I haven’t bought The Hunger Games, The View from the Bridge or Fool despite wanting to read them VERY badly.  Besides, I have plenty of paperbacks to read while I’m waiting for these books to arrive in paperback form.  I do break this rule, however.  Harry Potter is one of the rule breakers.  And I have to say, Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol, was a rule breaker.  I loved all four of Dan Brown’s previous books so I pre-ordered the new book back in May with some birthday money (Thanks Dan and Kathi).  I should be starting it this weekend.  I can’t wait.

The Lost Symbol

So, as for picking my next book, I don’t really say, “I’m reading that next”.  When I finish a book, I go to the pile and see what floats my boat.  However, things like The Lost Symbol or a new acquisition from paperbackswap.com will usually pop up and take precedence.  However, during Halloween and Christmas, I switch to scary and holiday books respectively so, in a sense, I do have a plan for the month of October and the month of December.  The rest of the year, it’s a crap shoot.

After I finish a book, I’ve started just this year writing my thoughts down in a book journal Steph gave me for Xmas called Book Lust. In it I keep track of the books I read, what I thought, when I started the book and when I finished it.  It’s cool to look back on the books I read earlier in the year.  I wish I had started it sooner.  I keep a similar journal for all the movies I watch.  That journal is just a Moleskine softback journal but I keep similar information.


7 Responses to “Weekly Geeks 2009-35: Picking the books I read”

  1. I have books strewn about everywhere and just pick up whatever suits my fancy at that moment.

  2. As for me, I usually read 3-4 books at a time. Usually a sci-fi, a crime, a non-fiction military type, and a non-fiction martial-arts/zen/philosophy book.

    Embarassingly, I tend to buy them, as I am too impatient to wait for the library. I steer clear of hard back (except, like you Harry Potter or other rare exceptions) as no book is really worht $27. Of course, this is how I found some of favorties, just going to the book store and saying “hmmm, this looks interesting.” Of course, I have gotten some stinkers, but I bat .900 usually.

    I guess as addictions go, buying paperbacks and used DVDs aren’t that bad, right?

    • I can’t read more than 1 at a time. I tried reading 2 at once, one during lunch at work and 1 at bedtime, but I had trouble focusing. Especially if one of the books is better than the other. Now I just focus on one and generally turn around a book in 12-14 days depending on the page count and the writing style of the author.

      For instance, reading Koontz’s breezy Frankenstein is much easier and faster than reading Shelley’s dense Frankenstein despite Koontz’s book being nearly double the pages.

  3. Just found another exceptions to the “only paperback” rule: another hitchihiker’s guide book in the increasingly ill-named trilogy.

    It comes out in Oct, so I will be getting that one in whatever form I can, even if written in blood on the back of a swarthy cobbler.

  4. Eoin Colfer, who wrote the Artemis Fowl series. I have never read them, always thought they were HP knockoffs.

    Heard they are making/have mad a Percy Jackson movie?

    • The Percy Jackson movie is pretty much in the can. The second trailer was just released recently. It is directed by Chris Columbus who brought us Harry Potter 1 and 2. I love the books and I’m interested in the movie.

      I read the first Artemis Fowl book and it’s pretty good. Not really a Harry Potter knockoff. Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old super genius that is looking to harness the magic of the fairy world for himself. It’s clever. Light, airy and fun. I plan on reading the second book.

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