Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Choosing Books

There are several discussions out there right now about how you choose what to read. Some of them are selecting books in preparation for the 24-hour readathon, which I wish I could participate in, but I have theater tickets Saturday afternoon that will interrupt my reading time. Others are about requesting ARCs and writing reviews, which isn't an issue for me at this point. I've just started blogging and am mostly working on reducing my TBR pile of books I've bought. But if you want to know about ARCs, check out The Story Siren and her very important reminders about manners and humility. The Bookgirl Reviews is offering readers an opportunity to select what books they want her to review next. So I thought I'd let you all know how I choose what to read.

Mostly, I'm new at this, so it is in no way systematic. I'm a compulsive book-buyer, so I have a huge TBR pile at any given time. I have certain authors and series that I follow and will therefore pick up and usually read immediately a new book as soon as it comes out (in paperback). I also read a lot of (mostly YA and scifi) book review blogs, and when something has amazing buzz, I will pick it up as soon as it comes out. But unless it's something that rockets to the top of the TBR pile, I mostly pick novels off my bookshelf on a whim. I will tend to read genres in spurts. I will read a bunch of, say, vampire novels (recently the entire Anita Blake Vampire Hunter seriesand several Sookie Stackhouse books) and then I will all of a sudden be in the mood for realistic romances and I won't want to look at anything supernatural for a while. Then I'll slowly work my way back into scifi or fantasy. So right now, I'm only reading things that have gotten my attention enough that I've felt compelled to buy them, but I will skip around between genres depending on my mood.

I also (sort of) read more than one book at a time. First, I'm usually reading one book and listening to a different book on my ipod for when I'm driving and doing chores. Right now, I'm reading Jane Eyre and listening to METAtropolis. I tend to start several different books in different genres, and a few pages or sometimes a few chapters in, I will decide that one of them is the one I really want to be reading at this particular moment and I will continue with and finish that one. That one often leads to others like it, and so I'll have several other books that I've opened and started that I'm sort of but not really reading at the same time. You'll notice that the 4 books I've listed as the ones I am currently reading in the side bar aren't the ones I'm actually currently reading as I stated in this post. They're all books I've started, read a few pages of, and mean to and want to read, but that for one reason or another I picked up something else and got engrossed in that instead.

In addition to picking up books on a whim, I try to follow along with the reading at the Sword and Laser podcast and the Galactic(a) Watercooler Book Club, but if those aren't what I'm in the mood for, they often fall by the wayside. I will also gladly entertain recommendations and suggestions from friends, readers, and fellow bloggers. If you want to request a review of a certain book, I love to have people to talk about books with, so I will gladly be guided by the stars (or the readers) to pick up a book you want me to read or review sooner rather than later.

I tend to read more YA and fantasy than anything else because I can generally read them pretty fast, whereas hard core scifi (or Jane Eyre, which isn't that long but is somehow a lot slower than other the things I've been reading) can require an investment of a week or two. This is mostly relevant because of BEDA; because I'm trying to blog every day, I need to have new things to blog about, so I'm trying to read more books more quickly than I normally would. Usually, I don't care if it takes me a day, a week, or a month to finish a book, but I want to establish a baseline of several reviews on this blog to give readers a sense of my taste and style. I'm reading both recent and older books at the moment, both in order to demonstrate who I am and what I like to read, so that my book discussion isn't just about the newest, shiniest books out there but actually establishes a sense of who I am and what I like to read.

I also this week won my first book on a blog giveaway (yay! super exiting!), so when that book arrives, I might move it to the top of the pile just because it was free and I was excited to win something and I appreciate that someone bothered to give it away. If I ever happen to get to the point where publishers or authors actually wanted me to read and review things, I assume that this would be my policy, too - that, assuming it was something I was interested in reading, I would move it to the top of the pile. Right now, though, I'm just enjoying reading and writing about whatever I want as the spirit takes me.

Perhaps I will, like Bookgirl, catalogue some of the books on my TBR pile and ask the internet what they want me to read next. I wonder if it would work? I wonder how that would change my reading habits?

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