Which one?

I faced a dilemma late last week… I finished Wildwood Dancing, the last of my book pile, and I needed to stock up. Which got me wondering about choosing the next book. How does it happen? What’s the thought process behind it all? Sometimes it’s easy: like after finishing Sunshine, I consciously picked something completely unrelated because I knew if I read another fantasy after that one, I wouldn’t be giving it a fair chance. Other times, it’s just a whim: which book is “calling” me, which one would be just perfect for the mood I’m currently in. And then there’s the obligation books: book groups, blog challenges, ones that “have” to be read for whatever reason.

I was sitting on my bed Saturday morning, looking at the pile of books I’d picked up at the library the day before. One book for online book group (Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card), one book for on line book challenge (I decided to start with A Good Year, picked completely at random), one book a friend has been asking me to read (Uglies, by Scott Westerfield) and one book that I felt I should read (The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich). And none of them seemed compelling. Sigh. I could bail and read Half Blood Prince, which I’ve been meaning to do before next Saturday, but I’m not sure I’m in the mood for Harry Potter. Yet.

I’m not sure I’m interested in help picking out which book to read next. What I am interested in is how you go about picking your next book. How do you decide which one next?

11 thoughts on “Which one?

  1. For me, it’s all about which book is “calling” me. I’m the ficklest of fickle readers, and if a book doesn’t suit my mood, it’s ovverrr. So, I generally pick whatever is calling. IF it doesn’t work out, back on the TBR it goes and I try again.And if none of that works, I read a graphic novel. hehe

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  2. Heh. You know, I’ve never read a graphic novel. Or a comic book. Just not my “thing”. I wonder if all readers could describe themselves as “fickle”. Is there really such a thing as someone who reads “everything”? (while I like to think I do, I know I dont!)I think I go either by obligation (weighed by how long I have versus how long the book will take me to read) or by mood. But I usually finish a book. It has to be REALLY bad before I’ll put it down. Something about obsessive-compulsive perfectionism or something like that…

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  3. I can never pick a new one ahead of time. I have to pick it right after I have finished the last book. I look at my shelves and wait for one to say, “Pick me!” Okay I don;t really hear them say anything but I do get a feeling about what one to read.

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  4. oooh, that’s a hard one. I usually stand in front of my shelves with a blank expression for about 15 minutes until I close my eyes and grab. Actually, though, I usually choose children’s books because I’m reading heavy stuff in book groups, or because they’re fast. Or the newest one I got, or something totally different from what I’ve been reading. Honestly, though, it’s been so long since I’ve been able to choose (too many book groups plus Harry Potter) that I’ll feel totally lost when it’s time to choose again!

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  5. I try to keep a wide variety of library books on hand so I can read whatever sounds good right then. I will pretty diligently read book club books (although this month’s <>Gone with the Wind<> will test that resolve). If a library book comes due before I’ve read it, I add to my library list again to check out another time.And if all else fails, I ask for ideas on my blog. That always works.I’m not a book finisher though. There are too many books out there to spend time on a marginal one.

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  6. Its hard for me too, always a battle because my TBR pile is so out of hand :/ Ive tried putting them in order and reading from there but it never works

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  7. Inkling — it’s not that I don’t want to read HBP, it’s that I want to wait until next week, so I can read it right before Deathly Hallows. The whole bad memory thing. So, I’m basically looking for filler books.And Erin — I keep my TBR list at the library’s website, and they alphabetize it for me. I’ve often thought about starting at the top and just reading them all in alphabetical order, but I’ve never gone through with it. I guess I’m just not in the mood… 🙂

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  8. Great question! I have no idea how I pick the next book. It’s almost at random, depending on my mood and whether my 4yo is with me at the library. I have tried a variety of reading “programs” like working my way through the Penguin Classics, but I think I’m happiest just following my nose. So to speak.

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  9. I’m fickle like Andi. If I pick up a book and it doesn’t grab me when I start reading, I put it back down and move on to something else. Sometimes, I do deliberately read something that I know will serve as a good mental break, after reading a heavy or depressing book. But, if a book doesn’t grab me right away (even if it’s an ARC – boy, those are the rough ones), I’ll almost always try again later because I know I’m going to end up fighting the book.

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  10. Like you, I often choose something as different as possible. I’m also strongly guided by which books need to be returned to the library soonest. Lately, with so many book challenges, I’ve enjoyed making a surveymonkey survey to ask my blog readers to decide for me!

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