I’ve discovered a something interesting: If I have to choose a book from the many, many unread books on my shelves and Kindle, I have a hard time choosing. I get paralysed by choice. I dither. If on the other hand, I have to choose from a short selection of just ten or so books, it’s much easier.
So, I’ve started putting together short to-read lists. I noticed the effect late last year when I did Megan’s Semi-Charmed book challenge. I liked the challenge, but I found it a little overly prescribed. So, since then, I’ve been choosing ten books and just aiming for balance. I don’t want too many books of one genre, or with one set of themes. I don’t want too much non-fiction or two many books that are either super long or super short.
So far it’s worked pretty well. I tore through the list I made in January and didn’t do badly with the one I made in February either. As I write, I only have two books left from my February list. It took me longer to get through than the January one, obviously, and I think that was in part because of a couple of books I enjoyed less than I expected to, and also in part because I realised too late that it was less balanced in terms of themes than I’d planned. Ah well, we live and learn.
Anyway, it’s now time to come up with a new list. As with the others, it’s perfectly possible that something will come up that will disrupt my plans. Maybe I’ll just suddenly be absolutely desperate to read something off-list, or maybe I’ll be so slow at reading that I’ll need to bump a planned book in favour of an extra book club read. I’ll certainly not read them in order. Whatever, I do what I want. It’s just a guideline.
So, here’s what I’m thinking, bearing in mind that I probably need about two book club slots*:
- The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh*
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
- Bodies are Where You Find Them by Brett Halliday
- Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Feminity by Julia Serano
- Book club choice: Eleanor & Park
- Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
- Star of the Sea by Una McCormack
- Earth: The Power of the Planet by Iain Stewart and John Lynch
- Miss Marple Stories by Agatha Christie
- The Immortals by S. E. Lister*
There. Maybe slightly heavy on the sci-fi, I guess, but it’s not all sci-fi and there’s some nice low brow to balance the high and a little non-fiction to balance a lot of fiction. Oh, and a really good blend of older and more contemporary books. That should keep me happy for a couple of months, at least. There’s just something about making a list like this that puts me in a mood for reading. Now I can’t wait to get started!
What are you planning to read over the next few weeks and months? Do you like having a short to-read list to choose from or would you rather pick things more or less at random as they take you fancy? Let me know in the comments!
*Edit: This list has changed a bit. Partly because one of the book club choices was a book I’d already read (The Sellout by Paul Beatty), partly because while I thought I owned a copy of Lucky Jim it turns out that I actually don’t, and partly because I had some time off work which meant I could read books that are too heavy to tote about in my handbag.
As a result, the first book club choice got swapped for The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh. Lucky Jim got swapped for The Immortals by S. E. Lister and I ended up reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel and Decipher by Stel Pavlou before I finished my list. Oh, and I ran out of books while travelling and ended up reading The Devil Wears Prada because it was already on my Kindle. Ah well, I never promised perfection.