How I Choose What To Read Next

I’m a moody reader, so I never know what I’m going to be in the mood for next, and I like most genres. Sometimes my book choices are deliberate, and sometimes they’re more whimsical. Here’s how I pick:

  1. A group I belong to picked it. In general, I try to prioritize these. I belong to a FaceBook YA Book Club for writers. August’s book is Caravel, by Stephanie Garber. This was recommended awhile ago by a friend, and I just never moved it to the top of my list. Now it is. I also belong to a small book club with two friends of mine. We choose a book and all pass it around. It’s supposed to be a three month cycle per book, but I think we’re a bit behind this time around (or maybe it’s just me). For that, I read LaRose, by Louise Erdrich. It was slow reading, but it’s always interesting to step out of my comfort zone and read something I wouldn’t have picked.
  2. Someone recommended it. People know I read a lot, so they’re always recommending books to me. I *try* to get to them before I forget who recommended them. By 1999, approximately half a million people had recommended the Harry Potter series to me, and I stubbornly ignored them because “it couldn’t be that good.” I don’t do that anymore.

    Part of my wish list.

  3. I just felt like it, okay? Sometimes, I wander around my house, see a book, and I’m like, “That’s the one.” No rhyme or reason.
  4. I’m in a sad mood or feeling meh, and I need comfort. I have a bunch of go to books for when I need a pick me up. If I need to cry, I read Where The Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I have no idea how many times I’ve read it, but I cry. Every. Single. Time. If I’m feeling stuck in a rut, and need adventure, I might read Watership Down, by Richard Adams, or Lightning, by Dean Koontz. If I just need something familiar, I might read Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, or Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte (though I usually skip the whole first section at Lowood school).
  5. I was at the library, and it screamed at me to get my attention. I try not to look at the “new fiction” shelf, but sometimes I hear the books calling my name. I know that means that other books will be neglected… but… new books.
  6. I was thinking about a passage from it, and just had to reread it. This happens to me once in awhile. I’ll be thinking about something else, or I’ll watch a movie or read another book, and a particular passage I like comes to mind. Then I’ll either flip through the book to reread just that part, or I’ll reread the whole thing. This happened recently with The Face, by Dean Koontz. No spoilers here, but there’s a part where a cop does something illegal with good intentions, and for some reason, that popped into my head, and I had to find and read that section.

As you can see, I don’t really “choose” what books to read. It’s all kind of random. But the orderly people in my life would say that I’m more governed by chaos than not, so it makes sense. I’m working my way through the 20 Books of Summer, and keeping to a pre-set list is difficult!

How do you choose what books to read next? How do you keep track of books people recommend?

TBRs Are Pointless For Me

Sometimes I see people post pictures of the TBRs (To Be Read), and I wonder how many of those people stick to them.  I set myself a TBR pile or list with the best of intentions, and then I go off and read something else.

I have books upon books upon books that I intend to read, that I’ll get to one day, but I won’t do it in any particular order.  If I decide to read a certain book next, odds are that by the time I get around to it, I won’t want to read that one anymore.

The only exceptions to that are books that I’m reading with other people. Then, I read them promptly, whether I like it or not. One of my favorite things to do is to discuss books.

I pulled these books off my shelf and stacked them, intending to read them “next.”


That was back in September, and I haven’t touched any of them. I’ve read plenty of other books, just not those particular books.

The problem is that I’m a moody reader. I never know what I’m going to want to read until I actually pick up a book. And if I’m not in the mood to read that particular book, then I probably won’t like it.

Part of the reason I like to own books is that when I want to read a book, I want it handy. I never know when it’s going to be the right time to pluck an unread book off my shelf. Or when I’ll suddenly get the urge to visit an old friend. And because I read in almost all the genres, I have to have  a lot of books on hand. Sometimes I get books from the library, and return them unread. Other times, I can’t get through them fast enough.

I read somewhere that stacks of books are the only type of decoration that doesn’t make a house look messy or cluttered. I couldn’t agree more. So I’ll keep stacking up TBRs and getting to them when I get to them.

Do you stick to your TBR or find yourself reading whatever you feel like?