Weekly Geeks 2009-35: Picking the books I read
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.
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.
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.