I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to read anything that isn’t amazing. Last year I spent far too much time reading things that were OK, but nothing special. I was sucked into completing entire prize lists, despite not falling in love with the books on them.
I’m making big changes on this blog
This year I’m going to make a big effort to abandon any book that doesn’t excite me. I hope that this blog will have no books rated 3.5 stars or less from now on. I also hope that I’ll be able to give up on books far sooner than previously. My experiments over Christmas have shown that I find this really hard, but I find the 80 – 100 pages I have given books in the past far too long. In my heart I normally know a book isn’t for me after just a few pages.
I am aware that some books take a while to get into and I would hate to miss out on a fantastic book with a slow start – so I am going to launch a new feature on my blog:
Read or Reject?
Once or twice a month I will write mini reviews for all the books I have abandoned, explaining exactly why I did so. If you have read and loved any of the books mentioned then I hope you will be able to prevent me from missing out on a gem, or at least let me know if the book is likely to change in style towards the end.
I’m hoping that this change in approach will mean I can quickly work through my massive TBR pile, allowing me to reject anything that is failing to entertain me whilst highlighting all the wonderful books that are out there.
I was particularly struck by a comment made by Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog on her end of year summary
I said “yes” to everything I was genuinely interested in reading. And since one can only tell so much about a book from a canned email pitch, I organized my galley shelves according to month of publication and did the actual deciding in the comfort of my living room, where I could pick up the books, flip through them, read a few pages or a few chapters, and make a more informed (and, ahem, deliberate) choice about what to read next.
And HOO BOY, it was amazing!
I’m not planning to do exactly the same as Rebecca, but her basic principle really interested me.
I hope that this will help me to work through my massive stack of books, the majority of which were bought for the wrong reason (because they were cheap!) and only complete the best of the bunch.
How will this affect my prize list reading?
I still plan to try all the books on the prize lists, but I’m not going to force myself to finish any that aren’t to my taste. I was interested to see how insightfully Gav from Next Read was able to review the Booker short list just by reading the first chapter of each book and I hope I can do a similar thing.
I hope that my blog will become a much more positive place to be. I will end up completing far fewer books this year, but you will know that the ones I do are special.
This is the hardest resolution I have ever made. I find it really hard to abandon books, but I need to be strict with myself or I will never find the time to read the ones that are already on my wishlist.
What do you think?
How many pages of a book do you think you need to read to know you’ll enjoy the book?