Take your pick

I’m a slow reader…

I take my time when I’m reading, taking small blocks of time-out to read and allowing for moments to pause. I flick backwards and forwards through the story reminding myself of character details or refreshing on a sub-plot or backstory. I’ve always read like this and it’s a deliberate preference, my process.

It is nonetheless a bit of an impediment – it caused me no end of frustration when I was studying Lit at Uni, where I was asked to get through a couple of books a week.  I could manage it, but never happily.

My slow-coach reading style still causes me consternation, when the amount of reading material available out there is copious, to say the least. There is so much to choose from. When I pick a book to read, I choose carefully – I’m going to be carrying that book around with me for a while.

So…how best to choose the next read?

My current undertaking, Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was a recommendation by my friend Tim, facilitated by a long-term loan of a copy. It’s a perfect pick.

Also, on rare occasions my interest is sparked by a review. Currently, I’m pretty curious to look at the latest work by Joyce Carol Oates, Give me Your Heart.  It got a write-up in this weekend’s ‘M’ magazine (The Age) and although it’s a very different genre to that which I’d usually read, I’m intrigued.  I’m surprisingly nervy about starting with a new author.  This makes me think that maybe I need to take a few more reading risks – let’s face it, little harm could come of this…at worst a few bucks down the drain and a wasted afternoon.

But mostly I just follow my nose…one title leads to another, and I work through my collection.  Sometimes the references are obvious. Reading Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, he mentions Oscar Wilde a couple of times which puts me in the mood to revisit Dorian Gray. Sometimes though, the links are more obscure. Recently I was reading Chandler’s  The Big Sleep, and for some reason it got me thinking about The Great Gatsby so that was next on my list.  Don’t ask me why or where the connection was, it was just there and so that was the direction I headed in.

Looking at my current list of wanna-be-reads, it made me wonder how other people go about picking what they’re going to read – there are so many options and such limited time.

How do you choose what to read next?  What are you reading now and how did it get to the top of the pile?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy Petkoff
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 10:53:18

    It’s refreshing to read that I’m not the only non-speed reader in the Universe! I’m currently reading Stephen King’s latest short stories. I am a story person, I like to be sucked under like being pulled into a rip and not being able to come up for air! I also rarely reread books…. Weird huh? Looking for such a book? Try The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham (Australian author)


  2. Tara Gent
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 08:04:39

    Wow, what a way to read but then again I dont ask people how they read! but I will from now on, I feel a survey coming – something to add to you list? I would love to know how other people read.

    With limited reading time available I tend to fly through books, and like Kathy I dont come up for air. However, I am going to give your way a go on my next book whatever that may be, and I will add it to my list of thrifty ideas 🙂 I really could save a small fortune I think!

    I’m currently reading My Experimental Life by A J Jacobs which isnt the kind of book you could do this with. It’s a very interesting read and I have actually thought of you a few times as I could imagine you taking up some of these challenges.

    I reread too. Is this because we didn’t spend enough time on them in the first place?


    • That Book You Like
      Mar 17, 2011 @ 09:39:56

      I’m intrigued…what is My Experimental Life about?


      • Tara Gent
        Mar 17, 2011 @ 11:02:18

        One of the books he has written previously is about the year he spent following every single rule in the Bible “The year of Living Biblically”- haven’t read this one, but it will now be on my list.

        This one is about smaller experiments – he spent a month outsourcing his life to India (personal and work), this one was hysterical and so tempting to follow; a month of total obedience to his wife – very amusing;following the rules of George Washington (very interesting); etc. but they all make you think outside the square.

  3. That Book You Like
    Mar 17, 2011 @ 11:31:57

    That sounds really fascinating Tara, I’ll have to check that one out (oh dear, my list is getting very long). Last week, I actually let my FB friends choose what I did with my Friday. Asides from the relief of delegating the decision-making (sometimes I get so sick of deciding what job to do first) it was really interesting experiment. I like to see who gets in first too…and their reasons for there suggestions (thanks Kathy by the way, I enjoyed a clean house all weekend thanks to your Friday direction)


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