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What To Read Next….

February 21, 2011

I get my books from the library. I get review copies from the newspaper and from nice publishers and publicists who have me on their lists. (A surprise package of books is so wonderful, like getting a present!) I have books sitting on my shelves, unread. Or half-read. Sometimes, for years. And then I pluck the book from the shelf, and zoom through it.

Yes, sometimes I time the books I read by what’s due back at the library when. Or what needs reviewing for the Ledger. But more often, there’s a more mysterious, intuitive selection process. One even I can’t fathom. Which leads to things like bringing three or four books on a long weekend, when I’m nearly done with one and have no idea what I’m going to want to read next.  (Then, and only then, do I start thinking about an e-reader. Most of the time I’m full of disdain for the things.)

It has something to do with the narrative rhythms. I don’t want too abrupt of a transition. So I’ll go through genre phases, where there are multiple foodie books, or where I’m all about memoir, or several mysteries one after the other. I used to do mystery binges more often, when I’d find one book by an author and then want to devour everything else in that detective series. Haven’t been grabbed by a new mystery protagonist that way in ages.

I just finished reading a Lauren Willig historical romance. So I knew I was going to follow it with fiction. I brought The Speed of Dark home from the library. And I’m zooming through it delightedly because it’s thoughtful science fiction centered around issues of mind and knowledge, with very strong character presence. But since it’s grounded in intellectual questions about autism, disability, mind, and science, I’m going to be primed for something more in a nonfiction mode, like a social media guide I’ve been wanting to read for a bit. And then maybe a memoir or two. All of which are in my TBR pile, patiently waiting for me to be ready.

I know people who can read multiple books at once, usually juggling fiction and nonfiction. If I did that, I’d never have a sense of having finished anything. And I’m pretty sure I couldn’t juggle two novels at once. I’d confuse the characters.

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