Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: Choosing what to read next & sorting systems

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Choosing what to read next & sorting systems

I've come across a whole range of ways to decide what to read next during my time talking about books on the internet. Some people haveso many review books that they just read what they have to, others like to read books in themes or challenges, yet others ask their readers or friends to choose for them.

My initial style of reading was to just read what took my fancy. This was fine when I didn't do much reading, as there was always a book that really interested me on my shelves. But then, as I started to buy and receive more books, I realised that I had some were simply sitting on my shelves stagnating for months or even years. What to do?

I started to place my books in the order they arrived. This would guarantee none of them sat there too long, I thought. Soon a had a 'snake' (as one goodreader said) of book running along my cupboard space and then poured out onto the floor. Now I had a problem, the snake had curled itself up to several books deep. Every time I bought a new book it was like exploring a cave that could collapse at end minute to put it at the end of the rows. Plus, there were books arriving for rings and rays, that needed to be sent onto readers and couldn't just be put at the back of so many books. To make life more dificult I would sometimes come across books that I just wasn't in the right mood to read at that time and so thesewould end up at the back again and the began to stagnate once again.

So, I decided to start reading in themes. The first theme would be 'rings and rays', then I'd make several others themes. This started off well- China, difficult families, science fiction etc- but then some of them didn't seem to fit any of my chosen themes. I ended up taking quite a lot of  my valuable reading time resorting my TBR books. And I began to feel like I ought to read all of a theme before moving onto the next one, particularly harrowing for those such as the abuse situations section. Then I redecorated my study and the sections got all muddled up anyway.

Living with my books in boxes for a while gave my plenty of time to think about my reading (and sorting systems). It was important that I read rings, rays and review books first. I also didn't want to take too long over reading books people had given to me. And I also wanted some flexibility in my reading so that it wouldn't, God forbid, become boring.

So, what system have I finally come up with?
I now read my rings, rays and review books first in the order they come. The TBR books on my shelves are sorted by the time period in which the are set. This allows me to read them in some sort of order and yet I can skip any books (or periods) that I don't particularly want to read at that time. It also means that I'm not reading the same style of book all the time. Next to my shelves as a stack of books tha don't fit on my shelves. These are moved across as a space becomes free on the shelves. That leaves only one problem- new books get put on the top of the pile and therefore still added to the shelves before the older ones. Oh well, you can't win them all!

So, I'm interested, how do you sort your books? How do you decide what to read next? And can anyone solve my shelving dilemma (bearing in mind that I have no space for more shelves)?
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