December 19

What to Read Next?

Sometimes I hate to finish reading a good book because I don’t want the story to end. You know how it is when you get caught up in the narrative, you care about the characters, and while you want to know how the story ends, a part of you just wants it to keep going even after the climax. First World problems, indeed.

But I also hate to finish reading a book because then I have to decide what to read next. I have a stack of books in my “to read” pile next to my bed. And this isn’t including the seemingly endless list of unread titles on my Kindle. So many books, so little time. Yet I hesitate…

I think part of my problem is that I read a wide variety of subjects and genres. My true love is fiction, specifically, science-fiction, but I also read horror, fantasy, mysteries, westerns, autobiographies, biographies, science, history…I enjoy it all. And there’s the sticking point – what am I in the mood for? Do I want to explore the outer reaches of the galaxy, or do I want to go on a quest to overthrow an ancient evil with magic? Do I want to learn more about the life of Albert Einstein, or do I want to learn more about quark discoveries at CERN? The possibilities are endless.

It shouldn’t be this difficult. I mean, why don’t I just read them in the order in which I purchased them? Or by year they were published? Or by author alphabetically? Or by title? Good questions. The problem here is that I’ll then feel locked into a pattern that I’ll get tired of at some point. Then I’m back in the same situation.

What I often find myself doing is simple picking something random from the pile – a desperation selection – then I discover after the first few pages is that I’m really enjoying the story. But until that point I question my decision. Is this REALLY what I want to read? Am I in the mood for this? Then I dive in and all the doubts slip away.

It helps that I tend to read more than one book at a time. Not at the exact same time, obviously, because that would mean I’m a mutant. No, I like to read a fiction book and a non-fiction book concurrently. I’ve found that it gives me more opportunity to decrease the number of titles in my “to read” list. Although I still buy books faster than I can read them. Also, I feel it’s beneficial to me, as a reader, to have one book to entertain me and a second book to educate me. It’s like watching an episode of a scripted program, then following that with watching a documentary. Balance.

The two-book method seems to work for me. At least, it allows me to choose two books to read instead of one. There’s overlap…I usually finish one of them before the other, but that’s okay. And oddly, having to choose two books actually improves the situation. Plus, it gives me more variety.

I’m curious of other readers run into this problem. Is it because I buy books faster than I can read them, so they pile up and I’m overwhelmed by possibilities? Do other readers have this addiction?

I’ve heard that some readers only buy new books once they’ve finished reading the current one. I’m certain that this would help me in my dilemma, but I don’t have that kind of willpower. If I go into a bookstore, I don’t leave without something in hand. Or more than one something. Maybe three or four somethings. I know, I have a problem.

But buying books is a good problem…at least, until the stack next to my bed falls over and crushes me in my sleep. Death by the written word. I guess there are worse ways to go. And if I simply end up trapped under that pile of hardbacks, well, at least I’ll have something to read until the rescue workers arrive to extract me.




Copyright 2021 Richard Bist. All rights reserved.

Posted 2019-12-19 by RB in category "Books

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