Are you a planner or a freestyle reader?
OK, enough about you. Back to me. I’m an obsessive list-making planner. I need to know not only what I’m going to be reading next, but for at least the next year or so.
I have a lengthy TBR (to be read) list with four categories. No, wait! Come back! The headings are:
– Contemporary fiction
– Older modern fiction / 20th century classics that I feel I should have read
– What I loosely term the decolonisation/diversity list (the longest) – ie stuff that will be good for understanding issues around racism and colonialism better, and authors from a diverse range of backgrounds. (Yes, obviously BAME / LGBT authors belong equally in the other lists, but as part of a conscious effort to redress the pale-male-stale bias in my reading, I have them separately for now, and am prepared to discuss this policy at length with anyone who wishes OK.)
So although my book posts probably look as though I read pretty randomly, they were all chosen for a reason. I may not be able to remember what it was now, but there was one once.
My reading is mostly courtesy of public library ebooks. I get book recommendations from friends, podcasts, reviews on Instagram, my mum – and perhaps even you 🙂 I add stuff to my lists that I’m fairly sure I’ll like, and stuff I’m quite dubious about. And guess what – sometimes these are the best reads, and the books I thought I was sure to enjoy are duds. If I love a book I’ll buy it, and I’ll let the author know I loved it too if I can, even though it feels a bit creepy. Often a book will spark other TBR adds – perhaps something it’s referenced or reminded me of – and thus the list sprawls ever onwards. Yay intertexuality.
I’ve also just signed up to NetGalley, where you can request advance reader copies of forthcoming and new titles to review. This means I now also get to read brand new books before publication, and discover new authors who would normally pass me by. I’m glad I joined; it’s been really worthwhile so far.
How about you? What determines your reading choices? Are you spontaneous or strategic? And where do you get recommendations from?