I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! Now we’re headed on for the end of the year and facing a new one to come. Christmas hasn’t arrived yet, but this is about the time I start thinking about what sort of goals I want to set for myself in the new year to come. Do I meet all of my resolutions? No, but at least I can say that I think I improve in certain areas over the course of the following 12 months.
One of the things I look forward to near the end of the year is making my To-Read fiction list. This is where I sit down and peruse my notebook full of titles of fiction, curating a list of which ones I will aim to conquer reading next year. This event is a much-anticipated one, since it appeals to the list-lover in me! It also gets me excited about all the new stories I will be encountering, and gets me motivated to start over and accomplish my goals.
I’ve never been one to just go to the library and randomly pick out whichever fiction book appeals to me at the moment and come home with a stack. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but it’s just not me. I like to plan, scheme, aim, look forward to, time, get excited about, wait, then read. This makes for more of an experience!
You can make your own list however you like. But for fun, I’ll share with you the system I’ve developed for myself over time and how I make it work for me:
First I sit down with my To-Read notebook (read article about it here). Starting with Page 1, I go through in order and write down any books I’ve still yet to read until I’ve made a list of 72 titles. That’s right, 72. Will I get all of those read? Goodness, no! That’s too ambitious for me as I’m no speed reader, but you’ll see why I choose that many in moment.
I may look up some of the titles on goodreads (or even create my list on there to begin with) to refresh my memory on what some of books are about and re-decide if it’s really one I want to read after all. Some of these titles have been in my notebook ever since I was a teenager and my tastes have somewhat changed over the years.
I never write down a book by more than one author for a given year. I like to have as much variety as possible. Gorging too much on one author’s particular style would become boring to me. So I skip a title in my notebook if it’s a repeat-author.
If I come across a list of books in a particular series, I’ll write down the first title, but skip the rest of the books and save those for other years. Some may not like to do this because by the time they get around to #2, they may find they’ve forgotten what #1 was about. But I don’t really worry about this for myself. (I can always go back and read my book reviews on this blog, after all!) If I have already read some of the books in the series in the past, then I just go with the next in chronological order.
Once I have my list of 72, I then make out a list on a different sheet of paper that looks like this:
…and so on for the rest of the 12 months. Again, in reality I cannot finish 6 fiction books in one month, but are you still with me? Next, I reassign my 72 titles to my new list, choosing which month to put them under according to what season I think I would most like to read it in (you can read my article on this topic here).
The letter A stands for the first half of every month (for ex., Jan. 1-15). B, obviously stands for the latter half (16-31). Since most of the books I read are titles I want in particular, my small local library usually doesn’t have them in its collection. This is why I utilize the interlibrary loan system so frequently. Unfortunately, I have to wait for a while, usually 1-2 weeks after I’ve place an order in the state library system, so I plan to order it in advance of immediately needing it. When do I do this? I estimate that about the time I’ve reached the halfway marker in my current fiction novel, I will need to order the next one on my list to give it time to arrive. That way I’m not in agony after I’ve finished one book, waiting for the next.
This is where my special system comes in handy! When it’s time to choose which book to order/check out next, I reference my list. What time of year is it currently? Let’s say I’m ordering a book now, which makes it November B on my list. I start with B#1, which is: “Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Thief,” by Maurice le Blanc. Oh, fun! Now I can order it.
Usually this book will keep me preoccupied for abt. 2 weeks, unless I’m being particularly slow-pokey. The next time I’ll be ordering a book from my list will probably be when it’s December A (which would be: “Nightbringer,” by James Byron Huggins) . But let’s say Arsene Lupin was a fast read and it’s time to order my next book and it’s still November B. That’s when I look up Nov. B#2, which is: “I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree,” by Laura Hillman. But wait. What if it’s unavailable in the system for whatever reason? Not to worry, I’ve prepared for this. I just go on to Nov. B#3: “The Amazing Interlude,” by Mary Roberts Rinehart.
See? It all makes complete sense now, I hope! For list-makers, this process is a joy that will probably take an afternoon and we will savor it the whole long while. For others who like to live more randomly, they will probably have given up on this blogpost a long time ago and are nursing a headache. 🙂
What are some of your methods for determining what to read? Share them with me, I’d love to know!