Take your pick

I’m a slow reader…

I take my time when I’m reading, taking small blocks of time-out to read and allowing for moments to pause. I flick backwards and forwards through the story reminding myself of character details or refreshing on a sub-plot or backstory. I’ve always read like this and it’s a deliberate preference, my process.

It is nonetheless a bit of an impediment – it caused me no end of frustration when I was studying Lit at Uni, where I was asked to get through a couple of books a week.  I could manage it, but never happily.

My slow-coach reading style still causes me consternation, when the amount of reading material available out there is copious, to say the least. There is so much to choose from. When I pick a book to read, I choose carefully – I’m going to be carrying that book around with me for a while.

So…how best to choose the next read?

My current undertaking, Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was a recommendation by my friend Tim, facilitated by a long-term loan of a copy. It’s a perfect pick.

Also, on rare occasions my interest is sparked by a review. Currently, I’m pretty curious to look at the latest work by Joyce Carol Oates, Give me Your Heart.  It got a write-up in this weekend’s ‘M’ magazine (The Age) and although it’s a very different genre to that which I’d usually read, I’m intrigued.  I’m surprisingly nervy about starting with a new author.  This makes me think that maybe I need to take a few more reading risks – let’s face it, little harm could come of this…at worst a few bucks down the drain and a wasted afternoon.

But mostly I just follow my nose…one title leads to another, and I work through my collection.  Sometimes the references are obvious. Reading Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, he mentions Oscar Wilde a couple of times which puts me in the mood to revisit Dorian Gray. Sometimes though, the links are more obscure. Recently I was reading Chandler’s  The Big Sleep, and for some reason it got me thinking about The Great Gatsby so that was next on my list.  Don’t ask me why or where the connection was, it was just there and so that was the direction I headed in.

Looking at my current list of wanna-be-reads, it made me wonder how other people go about picking what they’re going to read – there are so many options and such limited time.

How do you choose what to read next?  What are you reading now and how did it get to the top of the pile?