Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Plan ahead or close my eyes and point? How to choose what's next?

A small group of friends on Goodreads do small, informal "mini-reads" with each other. Generally 3-5 people for each book, and we've already planned as far out as September. The list is mostly fantasyish and includes some chunksters like George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire, and the Shannara series as well as some stand-alones like Tigana.

But this planning thing is new for me, and weird, because I never used to plan what I was going to read in advance. Generally, my reading involved whatever single book I was in the mood for at the time, and then I'd try to vary my next book genre as much as possible from the one I just read. So for example, fantasy would lead me to read historical fiction which would lead to horror which would lead to a fun YA, etc.

If I started a series, I'd read through all of the available books in a row, and then move on to something else. But now, I see that I'm not only spreading series out with other books in between, but also reading a lot more at once and in multiple formats.

This has changed my whole reading method! Not that I'm complaining. I love the books that I'm reading and discussing with this group of friends, and I don't see that the change is a bad thing... it's just different.

I'm now experimenting with a list of the next few books that I will be reading (on Goodreads it's my "To-Read_Coming-Up" shelf) to see how this works for me. Here's what the list currently looks like:
  1. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson [Nook]
  2. This Vacant Paradise by Victoria Patterson [HC for review]
  3. Act Like We're In Love by Christi Barth [E-book for review/Nook]
  4. Swan Song by Robert McCammon [Nook]
  5. Little Bee by Chris Cleave [PB]
  6. Animal Farm by George Orwell [Audiobook]
  7. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville [Nook]

The bolded books are scheduled either with a group or for review. I'm curious to see how this works for me, or if I push some of them to the back burner to read what strikes my fancy in between the "scheduled" books... Should be an interesting experiment!

So tell me... How do you choose what to read next? Do you have a system? Do you plan or wait to see what calls your name? Do you even have a pile of books at home waiting to be read or do you buy or visit the library on demand?

Inquiring minds over here! ;)


  1. I don't know that I have a system, but I love to make lists. I randomly write down what I want to read, need to read, think I'll end up reading, etc, and then just look at it for awhile and start prioritizing.
    One thing I DO do is I am constantly reevaluating how many books I can squeeze in before I read whatever I SHOULD be reading (review book, book club book, etc).
    I also, when I'm not sure what I want to read next, will pull out a big stack of different kinds of books, and read a page of each and see what pulls at me most.

  2. One thing I DO do is I am constantly reevaluating how many books I can squeeze in before I read whatever I SHOULD be reading (review book, book club book, etc).

    I do this too, Misty... LOL

    I usually always think that I can squeeze one more in, just one more, it's short, just one more, it's an anthology, just one more quick YA... and then I fail miserably at reading that AND what I was supposed to read. *hangs head in shame*

  3. I never used to schedule or plan what to read next, other than which book is due back at the library/to the friend I borrowed it from first. But now, with blogging, I feel like I have to plan it out better, and it's kind of been stressing me out... And, it makes me less likely to want to read anything. :(

    So, I'm trying to come up with a better plan for what to read, and when. :) (Oh ya, and I totally have Little Bee on the plan, for real, very soon! :) )

  4. I know what you mean, Ashley... too much planning takes the fun and spontaneity out of a thing, definitely.

    Oddly enough, I haven't been planning books at all when it comes to my blog - I just post whatever pops into my head. LOL But I do plan for groups on Goodreads and stuff. I love reading with people, and having the discussion that comes along with it. :)