Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speed Dating Books

Lately my Books to Read list has started encroaching on 600. At this point, I'll never keep up! So I've committed to checking out piles of the available books and going through a sort of speed-dating process with them, so that I can remove the books I probably won't actually read from the list.

How does it work? I'm glad you asked. Since I've been overthinking it already, I might as well share it.

1. Start at the beginning of the list and pick out the books that you don't necessarily remember the reasons for adding them to the to-read list in the first place, or books that you were so sure I wanted to read that you may as well do so now. Don't include substantial books that you know you want to read eventually but will take a considerable investment (Infinite Jest, the Updike Rabbit series, etc.)

2. Check the various library catalogs you borrow books from and see if any are immediately available (this limits my options quite a bit, particularly when I want to go that day and don't have time from a transfer of books from the much better stocked main library).

3. Bring home a good-sized pile, maybe 7 books or so.

4. Open the book that appeals the most. I started with The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters because it had such a cool name. Read the first chapter.

5. Stop for a minute and ponder your experience. Did it really grab you? Are you into it? Is it everything you hoped for? Usually, if it has, you won't remember to stop after chapter 1. And if the answer is no, that doesn't mean you won't get back to it eventually. But if the answer is no, set it aside.

6. Repeat steps #4-5 with the next book. Stop when you find one that you want to keep reading, and finish it first.

7. Repeat steps #4-6 until you have read through what you feel interested in at the time, up until when the books expire. Only renew those that you really really want to read, otherwise use that time period as your speed-dating period. When the time is out, that book is over, unless you have some compelling reason to continue.

8. Remove the books from your to-read list that weren't as good as you were hoping, and write reviews for the books you have finally gotten around to.

Oh, what is that you are saying? You aren't obsessive like me, and therefore don't really have a to-read list? What are you waiting for? Combine all your post-it notes and mental notes and create a list! My favorite way has been in GoodReads since I can access it from anywhere, but a saved document would also work. There is reading to do!


  1. That's a great approach but I could never do it as it's so hard for me to put a book down once I've started it unless it's truly awful - I get guilt issues!

  2. I had the urge to push a "like" button like you do on Facebook! I may try this method sometime. I'm usually pretty random in my choices, but sometimes I like to go to Goodreads, order my TBR list from highest to lowest rated, and read the higher rated ones first.

  3. Shelley, I love that idea of sorting by rating! I'll try that next!

  4. I've made a rule that's kind of like speed dating when it comes to getting through books. If I'm not captivated, or at the very least interested, after 50 pages the date is over. I don't always follow my own rule though...


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