…or More Thoughts on Reading
So I’ve just finished another book but rather than write it up straight away I wanted to post about something else, something related to reading itself.
I’ve noticed that I’ve developed something of an anxiety about what book to read next. This is partly because the choice is so potentially huge. Even amongst just the books I currently own and have never read I’ve probably got enough reading material for a few years at least.
M. tells me that in one of the Discworld books I’ve not read yet a child is placed in a room with every kind of sweet imaginable, and the child is in danger of starving because he can’t choose knowing that once he chooses one he’ll exclude all the others he could have chosen. It’s a bit like that.
My answer to this has been to try to plan to read more frequently and therefore more quickly, so that if I do start to read the “wrong” book I’ll be through it and on to the next in a week or so. I’m already thinking that “6000 Pages 2012” might be something along the lines of “Read Every Day” instead of its current form (though I’d hate not to be able to compare my stats).
It hit me that the way I read now is sort of predicated on having to “get through” a book, more than likely on the expectation that I’ll not enjoy it but that I’ll get the satisfaction of adding to my pagecount, days read etc on my spreadsheet. I find myself thinking “I want to finish this current book so I can move on to the next book” and feeling frustrated that a book takes so long to complete (around 8 hours reading time for me for a 400page book).
Then it occurred to me that I didn’t always think this way. OK, I always did a little. I used to be much more anal about not abandoning books even though I wasn’t enjoying them. However it struck me that rather than see it as 8 hours of “work” I have to complete to get to the next book I should view it as 8 hours of pleasure. That I should be torn between wanting to read more because I’m loving it and holding back because I don’t want to finish too soon and have the experience be over.
Of course that partly depends on the books I read being good – which is where we came in – but actually unless I’m being dishonest with myself they aren’t that bad (average rating 7.4 so far this year).
So, and I’m thinking as I write, I think I need to read more frequently, in smaller chunks and be more ready to give up on a “bad” book (after giving it a decent chance). I wonder if part of that would be to abandon the whole spreadsheet approach altogether – now there’s a scary thought!