I’ve noticed in book groups that some people put more planning into what they will read next than others. A few even make lists of the books they plan to read over the next year during the month of December!
I can make no objection to this. After all, the choice of what to read and how much to plan is an individual matter. But I can’t help wondering, what about new releases they might not know about? I imagine every reader has their own way of dealing with this and some might not be as OCD as a list of “What I want to read in 2018” might suggest.
It does bring up the question of planned reading. Do people who plan ahead manage to read more good books? Like many people, I see books on my shelves and keep thinking, “I must read that soon.” Among the collections on my Kindle is one for books I especially want to read fairly soon, to separate them out from the general slush pile of free books that Kindle owners tend to collect.
I do something similar with paperbacks by stacking a few on a table next to my reading spot, encouraging myself to make time to read those particular books. This brings up another question; what’s stopping me from reading them?
Well, nothing really, except there are just too many. I’ve noticed that joining book groups can lead to group reads that are usually for something other than my top of the list to-be-read next books, so that’s one distraction. Promising to review something is another. How do regular reviewers keep up with their preferred reads, I wonder?
In these days of open publishing, there are too many books that grab my interest to ever read all of them. I’ve found it worth my while to DNF anything that I’m not enjoying to a certain level. If it feels like a chore to read, then why waste time on it when there are so many potentially great books waiting?
I’ve found that some planning does help. Keeping flexibility within those plans is just realistic. Life happens and reading time gets pushed aside for any number of things that cannot wait. Those who are able to keep to a schedule while working and taking care of a family tend to be fast readers, but there’s the catch. I know how to speed read. I don’t like to do it with books I enjoy. I sometimes do for review promises if I find my attention dragging.
A good book is something I want to savour and enjoy, not rush through. Relaxing with a great story is one of life’s easiest pleasures. You don’t have to dress up, brave the elements or deal with uncomfortable seating and high priced drinks as you do with many other forms of amusement. I’m sure anyone reading this will appreciate the appeal of a good book, a comfortable chair and maybe a preferred drink and a purring cat to complete the ultimate entertainment experience.
So how much planning might enhance that experience rather than creating another stress in life? Like many things, the answer to that will be an individual matter. As I look ahead to 2018, I see a seven-book science fiction/Fantasy series sitting on my shelf that I keep meaning to read. My living room is dark so fewer paperbacks get read in winter. However, this one is of especial interest so I’m going to make the effort to begin the first book within the next couple of weeks as I finish up my holiday reads.
Like many people, I have a couple of series I follow and new releases from those series will take priority when I get them in my hands (I’m looking at you George R.R. Martin). I have various non-fiction books that I’m tempted to just read in the order they’re shelved rather than neglecting them any longer. I’m not getting any younger and Alice in Quantumland is definitely on the bucket list!
As a writer I also read some books as research and those always take priority as I get close to the projects they apply to. This is necessary, yes, even for fiction writers. Realistic fiction is built on a framework of reality, depending on genre and the needs of the story. Even magic in a Fantasy story has to give a nod to Physics to read well.
Planning for a whole year, for me, would be too extreme. Instead I’ve got into the habit of targeting books for my next reads and choosing from among them as I go along.
What about you? How much do you plan your annual reading? Do you do challenges or indulge in group reads? Or do you mood read several books at a time and switch between genres as I do?
Let’s have a discussion.
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