There are so many books to read that I have to make choices. But how do I choose which books are worthy of my time? Here are a few ways I decide which books to read – other than “Oh my God, that book just sound awesome!” Because let’s be honest, we all know that reason.
- Required reading
As a student of literature, most of the time I don’t have to decide which books I read. This is decided for me by my professors. This had a few pros. For one thing, I get to read a lot. Most of my courses require me to read a book a week, so if I have three courses my deadlines make sure I read three books a week. It also makes sure I get to read books I normally won’t choose myself. However, this can also be a downside: I’m currently doing a course on gothic literature, and I quickly found out that gothic really is not my cup of tea. But I still have to read five gothic novels.
- Buddy reads
Buddy reading is when you and a friend read a book simultaneously. Last year I read The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek and The Mandarin by José Maria de Eça de Queiróz as a buddy read with my friend Laurens, and next year we’ll be reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. We choose books we’re both looking forward to and it’s great to not only have someone to discuss the book with afterwards, but also to talk about whilst reading the book. When reading The Piano Teacher I had my phone right next to me to discuss our reading experience.
- Book clubs
Book clubs are a great way to not only read outside of your comfort zone, but also learn to appreciate these books. Sometimes the books we read aren’t my style, but talking about it with different people who might have a different reading experience opens you up to another perspective. A book club with a special subject, like the feminist book club Our Shared Shelf, might also help you to learn more about a certain subject.
With so many books to read, a good recommendation becomes worth a lot. Especially from friends who know my taste in books. It’s because of these recommendation that I’ve read books like Adress Unknown by Katrine Kressmann Taylor, Valaki más by Imre Kertész and Jaren van de olifant by Willy Linthout
- My Goodreads challenge
To keep track of how much I read, I participate in the Goodreads reading challenge. And sometimes, this also means I panic a little when I haven’t read enough and I’m afraid I won’t reach my goal. So sometimes, I have a period where I’m suddenly reading a few books, just because I know I will finish them in two days and I need that to reach my goal. At this particular moment, I have three weeks left to read 11 books. So I probably won’t start War and Peace before January.