A Reader’s Dilemma

Book shelf with books
A sample of books next to my desk.

How do you decide what to read?

Some people collect books (well, I collect books, too, but that’s not the point), I collect reading lists. Or rather, I add whatever books are on reading lists to my own. And, I’m not too picky about what books get added. No horror, though; sorry, Mr. Stephen King. You might ask, if you’re curious, why?

Reading lists open worlds unknown. The creation of them by whatever organization or board puts them together highlights what’s important to that group or that person picking the books. I would hate to be an Amazon editor trying to determine “my” staff favorite. I would imagine it’s challenging. People who pick prize-winning authors and books have an equally tricky job. I’m content to take their work, note it, and add it to my own list of books to read at some point.

My list is not sophisticated; I use a Microsoft To-Do list and add them by title and author. Periodically, I’ll force sort the list so they are alphabetical by title. I have 2,945 books on the list but some are doubled. I know I won’t read them all especially since I keep adding to it. You can create a “Want to Read” list if you are on Goodreads. I have one of those too.

Every book provides some nugget of information, some little truth, or fact, even if presented in fiction. If nothing else, each and every book gives the reader insight into the author’s mind. “Why did someone write this particular book?” you might ask yourself. What drove them to tell that particular story? The author’s notes at the end are equally enlightening, and I often learn facts centered around history, psychology, sociology, science, or any number of fields from fiction writers.

Non-fiction, of course, opens doors to knowledge I didn’t know. I always learn something new, even if the book is beyond my particular knowledge base to understand. At some future point, the information invariably clicks. If it’s really tough to figure out, I’ll search out what things mean so I have at least a broad understanding of what the author is talking about.

But how does one pick the next book to read? That’s tough. Sometimes, I will read a book someone loans me, and I have to return quickly. Sometimes, I’ll read a book for a book club. Sometimes, I’ll pick a random book from my book list.

Do you have a reading list? What book is next on your reading list? Would you share it with me?


One response to “A Reader’s Dilemma”

  1. I might be the only one who hasn’t yet read “How to Be An Antiracist” so that is next on my list. It is Black History Month too so I’ve added a James Baldwin collection of essays to my list, as well.

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