Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book to Book (to Book)

I've been thinking lately about my fickleness as a reader, and was wondering if it was just me. I think I'm a moody sort of reader... what I want can change from month to month, week to week, even hour to hour.

One of the reasons I like having a large amount of books (and boy do I have lots...) is because of this fickleness. It's hard to know in advance what I'll want to read, as my mood will shift. Even during one day... I'll know I'm nearing the end of one book, and I think I know what I want to read next, but when I get to that point and pick up the expected book... suddenly the impetus is not there and I'm in the mood for something else.

Which in turn makes me wonder if there's any meaning in my choices, any pattern in the arrangement of books I read. Do they connect? And, if so, how? What makes me pick a particular book off the shelf at a particular time? Is it related at all to the previous book I read, or to something else in my life? Things are complex, so I want something simple... things are dull so I want something complex...?

So I'll turn that question on you: what makes you pick a particular book at a particular time? Do you have a list and an order well in advance? Is it moody, like me, or a random grab? Do you buy and read one at a time and then buy another?

Help me out here. It may even help me with a blogging idea...

(gotta love those suspenseful endings, eh?)


L. T. Host said...


(That was suspenseful ending music, in case you couldn't tell.)

Interesting post, and interesting to think about. I find myself excited about reading books that I'm drawn to. But it does depend on my mood, and a lot on the book, too. For example, if I am happy when I go to the bookstore and pick out something dark because it won't bother me in my current mood, that book may languish for months if I'm in a bad mood by the time I get around to trying to read it. Also, if I pick up a book that sounds interesting, but in execution is lacking, I'm not excited about finishing it, and it may be a while-- or never-- before I do.

As for what books I pick up to begin with, like anyone else I think taste is so subjective that I can't really say specifically. I do know that as my interests in hobbies and other things have shifted, so has my general interest in books; but I've pretty much always been somewhere around the same kind of reader: fantasy, inspired by fairy tales, fables, or mythology is my favorite. I do, however, like a little bit of just about everything, so like I said, I'm no real help in this area.

I hope I came anywhere near to answering your question, haha...

Deb Salisbury said...

I'm a very moody reader. I keep my unread stack all together, but if they don't suit my mood, I'll go reread an oldy. Usually fantasy, SF or mystery, or *very* light horror.

Ink said...


Casper the Friendly Ghost?


Ink said...


Yeah, that's a good answer. What I've been thinking about is writing about the books I read... but not in a traditional review sort of way. More of a subjective, experiential way, what they mean to me, what they reflect back to me about my own mood and experience. And the sort of connections, if there are any, and whether they might be meaningful or not. The experience of reading a book rather than an attempt at an objective valuation of it.

It might be a lot of work, though... so I probably wouldn't start doing it for awhile.

Thanks for sharing.

Deb Salisbury said...

> Casper the Friendly Ghost?

LOL! I was a big fan of the original cartoon in the 60's. Oops, I'm dating myself. ;-)

Light horror as in no guts & gore. I love ghost stories, paranormal (non-romance), borderline fantasy that often gets shelved in mainstream or horror.

btw & OT: Where would Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series be shelved? While there is some real history in them, no one can claim they are realistic. :-) I love those silly books.

Donna Hole said...

Yeah I have list of books I want to read. And I've even purchased some of them already. People envy my bookshelves; its almost like going into a bookstore!

When something catches my eye, or I heard great reviews and feel I should try it, I'll buy it even if I'm not ready to read it yet. Since I've been working so diligently (ahem) on my own novels lately, my want to read list has grown pretty long.

When I get around to reading said book, however, really depends on my mood, and my funds. Sometimes I'll read a book, which will remind me of another one - usually an old favorite I haven't pulled off the shelf in a while - and since I'm a series reader, if I read one, I have to read them all.

Likewise, if I read something, and don't like it, it may be a while before I get back into the mood for that particular genre or author. I guess you can say I'm fickle.

I had one book sit on my shelf for about 3 years before I got around to reading it.

Your reading habits sound fairly normal to me.


Donna Hole said...

Oh, I meant to give you this link to someone who has a unique style of reviewing published books.

Susan Quinn said...

Right now I'm reading books that fit a number of criteria: books like I'm writing, books like I would like to write, books that are good for reviewing on my blog ( They're all kids books.

I wish I could take a leisurely cruise through (your) bookstore and find things that just fit my interest at the moment, but my TBR pile would taunt me.

I have so much fun writing about the books I've read (I'm new to this, and it's not just a book-reviewing kind of thing, more "would this be a good book for advanced reading kids?" - which is a topic close to my heart).

So the adult books will have to wait a little while . . .

Ink said...


Glad I'm not alone... and thanks for the link. TLH has some fun reviews there... and movies! I admit I'm sort of a movie buff. Yeah. Just a little.

Ink said...


The one good thing about closing my store is that I'm building one kickass home library... I get first dibs on everything!

And why do people always talk about obsession like it's a bad thing?


Susan Quinn said...

I didn't realize you were closing the store. Now I'm sad. But that home library is an awesome consolation!

And I'll not be dissing the obsessives among us - as far as I can tell, they're the ones that get things done! Then again, that could just be my rationalization for my many habits . . .

Donna Hole said...

Happy birthday Bryan!!!!!

I lament the loss of one more privately owned bookstore. I'd boycot Barnes and Nobel, but then I'd have to resort to for buying books and thats just repulsive.

Good luck in any new adventures you have planned for your days.


The Sesquipedalian said...

You know I had a friend recently who said she always thought you could never have too many books - until she visited my home.

I tend to book-hop a lot with regards to non-fiction. I used to love non-fiction, especially if it had to do with Ancient History or Archaeology, but then I went to grad school and got buried in reams and reams of required non-fiction. I suppose I got a little burnt out on the heavy reading.

I find I tend to stick to less weighty reads these days, mainly fantasy. I would guess I'd get back to reading more non-fiction and "heavier" fiction if I had fewer distractions (like a full-time job, a family, a slowly progressing WIP, a hungry blog... oh, and life in general).

Marsha Sigman said...

I like to read books that are as far from my own reality as possible. Its always been an escape so I lean toward anything with a supernatural or magical element. I demand to be entertained.

If I wanted to read about a functioning dysfunctional, middle american family, who desperately search for humor and inspiration in the boring day to day details, then I'd write it.

I also watch movies the same way. My one deviation, Law and Order. All of them. Including spinoffs. I cannot explain it.

The Rejectionist said...

We like to read highbrow fiction, literary theory, and nonfiction when we are feeling cheerful, mystery and noir when we are grumpy, and YA and scifi/fantasy when we are mopey. It is important to have as many books as possible on hand at all times for a range of mood-related options, particularly when one is a volatile person.

Ink said...

It's good to know I'm not alone here... and interesting to see how much mood can affect our choices and interests.

And I totally had a Law & Order obsession for awhile. A&E showing reruns was totally an enabler. Somehow it didn't carry over to any of the spinoff shows, though. Dodged a bullet.

And oh yes yes yes on as many books as possible to the point of creaking and groaning floorboards bending beneath the weight of all that juicy literary goodness... I must be prepared for all eventualities. Having a psychotic break while wearing a giant chicken suit and dancing to Kokomo? I have just the novel for that...

Ink said...

(The Long Night of White Chickens, of course...)

The Rejectionist said...

A part of us died with Lenny. Seriously.

Mira said...

When I'm going through a tough time, I want books that are familiar, comforting and immerse me in a world of fun, excitement and imagination.

When I'm not going through a tough time, I want books that are familiar, comforting and immerse me in a world of fun, excitement and imagination.

On the other hand, sometimes I liked to read books that are familiar, comforting and immerse me in a world of fun, excitement and imagination.

It's good to have variety.

Mira said...

Actually, seriously, I go back and forth between genres - fantasy, sci fi, mystery, YA. I think my genre preference is mood related.