My To-Read list…

So many books. So very many. Not too many, mind you, but many.

There are the ones that have been on the To-Read list for ages (looking at you, Ulysses), then others that are brand new, all shiny and glossy and tempting. There are ones that were once shiny and glossy and tempting and then disappeared under newer, shinier, glossier tomes. There are the ones that have been started and then put aside in favour of lighter, funnier books, the ones that I intend to finish someday.

How do you decide what to read next? It’s not a science – not a matter of examining which has been waiting the longest or calculating which most deserves moving from the To-Read list into the Travelling-in-the-Handbag selection. It’s a complicated art, asssessing not just what you’re in the mood for but what you’re likely to stay in the mood for. What excites you most? What do you want to be reading right now? But also, what’ll you be doing as you read? Eating or travelling or waiting for people? Or will you have a quiet space and a stretch of time and room for reflection? Hardback or paperback, novel or short story collection or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, contemporary or classic?

And then there’s the inevitable craving of the new release from a favourite author, even though you know you’ve loads to read already. The discovery of something unexpected and gorgeous in a bookshop. The recommendation from a trusted friend. So much on the To-read list, so little time.

How do you decide?

About clairehennessy

Writer (mostly YA fiction), creative writing teacher, tea drinker, book junkie. View all posts by clairehennessy

6 responses to “My To-Read list…

  • Margaret

    One thing I usually do when I have a lot of new books to read, like after Christmas or my birthday, is start with the shorter books, because I’ll get through them more quickly and onto the longer ones. Of course, applied too strictly, that would probably mean you’d never get to Ulysses! I don’t follow it strictly, shortest to longest, but if I have something like Malory Towers, I’ll usually start with that, because it’ll only last about a day. Unless I’m saving it for travelling or something. I usually try to use the lightest books possible then and ones with short chapters, so I don’t have to stop in the middle of a chapter when the train arrives. (Your books are among those I often read when travelling. *grins*)

    What I’m in the mood for and how tired I am factors into it too. Sometimes if I’m really tired and in the middle of something complicated that I know I’m not going to be able to follow, I pause it and get something lighter to read that night.

    My mum doesn’t get the whole thing about deciding what to read at all. She’ll be like “why don’t you just read such a book?” I’m never sure how to begin explaining the whole what I’m in the mood for and what I’ll be doing over the next couple of days and so on to her. Though she reads a good bit too.

    • clairehennessy

      Oh, that makes a lot of sense. I tend to do a little bit of that – there can be something intimidating about longer books, especially if you don’t have a chunk of the day to give over to it immediately or if the author is new to you. (Oh yay – yet another reason to love short chapters! :D)

      It is a tricky decision – a strange and curious art indeed.

  • Eimear

    It’s such a conundrum! I’ve somehow acquired three shelves of unread books since moving into my new address six months ago. I now have them organised according to genre and book-length in a systematic bid to plough through them all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Elaina

    I have a teetering pile of to-read books – always, because of the lovely books that cross my path and need to be bought! I’m currently reading a book club choice, before that it was a chance loan from a friend when I finished my book in London (and led me to Never Let Me Go, which I loved) then I’ve got work reading, more book club, lurking classics (yes, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, one day) and other loaners that are getting dusty on my bedside locker. Choices, choices!

    • clairehennessy

      They do demand to be bought, don’t they? Whispering so alluringly in your ear….

      Loved Never Let Me Go! Couldn’t finish Tess when college demanded it and don’t think I ever will. ๐Ÿ™‚

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