This year, I resolved to read more deliberately. By that, I mean reading what I want to, when I want to, without worrying too much about books I “should” be reading. It’s about getting to those books I’ve meant to read for years. I’ve radically cut down on the number of review copies I accept – my parents have actually asked me why I’m suddenly not getting many books at home – and I’ve chosen only the ones that I would purchase if I saw them in the store.
I also decided to try and buy fewer books, but that isn’t happening and is a goal I’ve basically given up on. I have been buying at least a few every month and it’s an addiction I’ve more or less decided to allow myself. I don’t really buy anything else and now that I have a second shelf, I have a little room for them.
Now that it’s July, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to see how I’m doing with my goals overall. I have definitely been making more conscious choices. The last book I read, The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan, was one I’d had since 2008 and wanted to read pretty much the whole time, so I was happy to clear that off, especially since it didn’t quite live up to expectations. And I’ve just started Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. He’s one of my favorite authors and I was determined not to let his newest book languish underneath shorter, more convenient books.
Unfortunately, though, I can’t really say that I’ve done so well throughout the first six months of the year. I’m still regularly choosing books that are shorter and easier because I know I’ll get them read faster, especially now that it takes me a day longer to read everything than I was used to. I still get frustrated if I haven’t finished a book fast enough. And even with my vastly reduced intake of review copies, I’ve managed to read more of them than I have of my own books. While it’s good that I’m clearing out some backlog I’ve had for far too long, I would rather the balance tipped the other way in future. Library books are a distant third; I love the library and free books that carry no obligations, but I find I’d rather clear a book off my TBR pile than devote a few days to a library book. I’d also like to change this.
So what’s my plan, going forward? I don’t know yet. I’ve considered resurrecting my schedule of a TBR book, a library book, and a review book. I like having a concrete stack of what’s ahead, but I’m worried I’ll rebel against myself, something I’ve done way too often in the past. I’ve considered trying to challenge myself to read all the books I’ve acquired in 2010 by the end of the year, which should actually be an easy accomplishment if I don’t buy any more, but we all know that isn’t going to happen.
Since I’m going to visit my parents for a couple of weeks this month, I’ve decided to leave it open for now and do as I please. In August, I’ll try to come up with a plan for choosing my reading more carefully, without automatically selecting a short book over a long one. But in the meantime, I’d like to ask you an important question: how do you choose what to read next?