|Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight host the 2017 Discussion Challenge.|
If you’re like me, then you’re nosy about how other bookworms manage their book addictions. We have a lot of books in our lives and in our brains. Sometimes it can get overwhelming. I thought I’d show you the process I use to manage my reading life.
Step 1: The Hunt. There are billions of books in the world. How do I decide which ones to read? Blogs and BookTube have been good resources for me. I’ve been part of the online bookish community since 2013, and in that time, I’ve managed to find people who have similar reading tastes to me. I’ve discovered a lot of books through their blogs. Some of my favorite book blogs are over there, in the sidebar. --->
I also pay attention to literary awards. The awards I follow are the Newbery, Printz, Pulitzer, Man Booker, and National Book Award.
If I’m looking for books about specific topics, I ask for recommendations on my blog, Goodreads, or Twitter. Bookworms know everything, and they’re very nice about helping you find what you need.
|Twitter knows everything.|
Step 2: The Hit List. I don’t impulse-buy books. I’m a slow reader, and my reading interests shift quickly. I don’t want to buy a bunch of books and then lose interest in them before I can read them. My TBR (To Be Read) list helps with this problem. Whenever I find a book that sounds promising, I put it on my TBR list. Then I let it sit there. Every few months, I scroll through the list and delete any books that no longer interest me. This way, the list stays up-to-date with my interests. There are currently about 200 books on the list. Whenever I have money for books, I go through the list and buy the ones that I most want to read.
Step 3: Stalking My Prey. When you read as many books as I do, it’s not practical to pay full-price for them. You’ll go bankrupt. To support my book habit, I’ve become the ultimate bookish bargain hunter. My favorite places to find cheap books are BookOutlet, used bookstores, and used booksellers on Amazon. I can’t afford to be picky about my books. As long as they have all their pages and aren’t too germy-looking, I don’t care what condition they’re in. I’ve gotten hardcover books for as little as one cent on Amazon. I’ve also had luck with finding discounted new releases at Target, Walmart, and Kroger grocery stores.
|The cover of this book may have been nibbled by baby dragons. Who knows? It was cheap.|
Step 4: The Holding Cell. Once I have a book in my clammy little hands, it goes on my TBR shelf. I limit myself to one TBR shelf. All my unread books are in the same place. If the shelf is full, I don’t buy more books until there’s space for them. This has been a good way to control my book-buying impulse. Currently, there are 25 books on the shelf.
|Artsy black & white photo of my TBR shelf.|
Step 5: Selecting The Victim. I use a random number generator to choose which book I read. Since all my unread books are on the same shelf, I pick a number and count along the shelf. I’m not usually a mood reader. I can read any book at any time, so the number generator works for me.
|The lucky winner.|
Step 6: The Analysis. I review the majority of the books I read. Since I’m terrible at taking notes, I have to write a rough draft of my review within a few days of finishing the book. If I don’t, I forget my opinions. I also forget all the characters’ names. This is a problem. It’s also motivation to get my reviews done quickly.
Step 7: Convening With My Fellow Bookworms. After I finish my review, I go on Goodreads to see what other bookworms had to say about the book. I read a few 5-star reviews and a few 1-star reviews. I do this to make sure I didn’t miss anything amazing or problematic. All reviewers have blind spots. If I failed to see something, I want to know about it so I can become a better reviewer.
Step 8: The Purge. I love owning books, but I hate clutter. Clutter stresses me out. I need big, open spaces in order to be happy. So, I’m very picky about which books get to live with me forever. Almost all of the books I read end up going to new homes. I only keep a book if I can see myself rereading it in the future. The rejected books get taken to the used bookstore and traded for credits. I also donate books to schools. My mom used to be a teacher, so I’m aware that teachers spend a lot of their own money on classroom supplies. If you have children’s books, you can always stop at your local school or daycare and see if they want them.
That’s my reading process. How do you manage your reading life?