New Year's Reading Plans: In which I burble a bit about Romance, Landmines, and make A List. Also Book Guilt.
I threw the landmines in because they made for a nice title. There's only a brief mention of landmines in all this. (Until I read the book. Then look out. ...Too lazy to link it atm, ask in comments and I'll tell you the name.) This is mostly about trying to organize myself and all these virtual books that I can't pile in front of me as a reminder that "you have a lot to read! Finish all of these!"
A few days ago I sat down and tidied up my ereader, even before I needed to ponder it and my New Year's Reading Resolutions.
...In the non-fantasy world: I finally tried to load all my book sale purchases on my ereader and oops, out of memory. So I was forced to clean. (Humor: Amazon's automated system gets SO terrifically excited about this that you get an email announcing that your ereader is full, and telling you what to do in case you were panicking. Which I thought was rather sweet.) This was somewhat tedious but I did need to think about file organization. I know, so exciting. This is why I always put it off.
The first step was to rename and create a bunch of folders, specifically genre related. I'm hoping this might remind me to read outside some genres more often, and realize how many books in certain genres are still sitting there waiting on me.
Oddly this reminded me to shelve all the romance I've read - I usually don't keep track of them for the reading challenge. I've avoided reviewing the genre for the most part because 1) I've seen comments from Serious Fans on GR that made me shy of all that (though it really only seems to happen now in YA), and 2) I consume romance without thinking about reviewing it. It's my popcorn lit, and it's really only when I can't find anything to enjoy in a book or there's a huge amount of WTFery that I get ranty. Once I decided to get less self-judgmental about romance reading (now that's a rant topic: genres we're not supposed to think are "real" or worth reading), I also decided that I'd not bother with stars because of that - just let the reading be fun and not about ranking. It's probably the same reason I'll not put stars on any of my comic book reading (with exceptions) whenever I get them out of storage.
This reminds me that I really want to read more comics/graphic novels this year, but all the ones on my ereaderIQ sales list do not often get into sale territory. Yet. (Sigh.) Which might be good as the last time I read a lot of comics I also had an impatience problem with never-ending plots (another case of my Han in Carbonite Problem). Also I need to clean out all the romance stuff I've gotten via sales or free, and there's a book on landmines I've been waiting to get around to for years. (There you go, there are the landmines. They're real and not metaphorical. Er, in the book.)
I had to pause after typing that and wonder if anyone's ever thought about romance novels and landmines within the same minute. I'm thinking, probably not. (If you know of a romance novel that contains landmines recommend it immediately.) My next thoughts were on my Heyer backlog and the book on the history of the Volkswagen I haven't read. Now I'm wondering at what point the Amazon algorithm will eventually give up trying to make suggestions for me based on these choices. (Wouldn't it be fun if you could cause the Amazon suggestion page to explode from illogic? Or at least be unable to respond, struck dumb by your choices. You know we'd all be playing that game! Just to see what book combo would do the trick.) (Yes, I know, landmines, explosions - there's a trend here. I blame Dragon Age Inquisition - I'm all about blowing things up at the moment, in a magey kind of way.)
Anyway, enough tangents. All of that led to a list of Reading Resolutions - or that's what I'd hoped it be. Instead it's a List of Things I'm Working On. Since part of my problem is always having SO much to read, my list is more about how I'm going to approach reading rather than the exact books I'll attack. I've found that the best way for me to deal with which book always has to do with what genre I'm in the mood for at a particular moment.
Reading Organizational Quandries and Ponderings
1) My Currently Reading Book List
The list on my Booklikes page that is. It's not helpful, and in fact I'm using it as Book Guilt.
I am a person that will often say "Book, right now you and I, we are not having A Thing. Now is not your moment. I know, I know, we were really having a great time last week when I couldn't put you down. I promise, later we can hang out and bond, but right now I need to go read something fluffy and less meaningful. Because it's been that kind of day, and part of my brain needs to do less thinking. So sit over here and I'll be back."
I usually get back to the book, but sometimes it can take months. And during that time I have to see it in that column, which can either annoy me or make me feel a touch guilty. (More on that in #6!) So I need a new way to manage that. Not sure what yet. Which leads to...
2) How to track my Set Aside for Now books
I was thinking maybe a Book Limbo shelf, but that sounds a bit as though I've banished them for unknown reasons. ...Ok some I have, mentally. But forcing myself to read them when I'm not interested leads to bad reading experiences. And it's not fair to the book. (Poor book.)
3) Books I've Been Meaning to Read for Too Long - I Need A Better Reminder Process
For instance, I've had Malala's autobiography for a year or more now, I think. I still want to read it, but it keeps settling to the bottom of other folders. My past attempt at this was to create a Read Next folder. The result was that I gradually had hundred books in it, and then I'd start a Read Next #2 folder. This did not help.
4) Reminding Myself of Open Library Books to Read
Open Library is yet another site where I have a huge TBR list.
5) Come up with a reminder system for cleaning out my folders on my ereader.
Cleaning is the best way I can come up to remember what I have in there.
6) Fight Book Guilt
Biggest for last! Book guilt is when I make myself feel that I'm not reading enough books. Or I'm not reading quickly enough. Or that I'm reading too many books in just one genre and not another. Or too many published in the same time period. Or that I'm not taking part in reading challenges. Or that I haven't set a large enough book count for my yearly reads. Or that I've set aside books and not finished them yet.
Or, or, or, etc. You get the idea - it's a long and unreasonable list.
For some reason I once got the idea that there was a rigorous list of what and how I should read, and from it I've given myself all sorts of assignments as if I'm still in school. Which is silly, because this is all about enjoying reading, not turning it into some kind of punishing chore. I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons why I fell into that pattern, but it's a drag and I've been working on stopping it. Self-competition is weird - I never think about this stuff in relation to what everyone else is reading - I'm wildly nonjudgmental about that.
So where are my solutions in this?
Well, that's where this is a work in progress.
Book Guilt: I think it'll help to figure out how to organize myself. Also it might help to just stop every now and then to remind myself that if I'm not having fun or I'm not in the mood to read a certain thing, that's fine. There are other books to move on to.
Organization: First get into my ereader folders and actually look at what's there, folder by folder, and try to do this a few times a year. I'm considering setting an email reminder on my calender to do this. Trick will be not immediately saying "meh, too busy, don't want to now" and then forgetting about it. Running out of space on my ereader seems a great motivator - maybe I'll send myself a "check memory space" reminder instead.(Which isn't just a sneaky way to disguise a chore by renaming it - it reminds me that this is advance prep for not being forced to clean because I suddenly run out of memory. I care way more about memory in all my gadgets than I do about organization.)
The idea I keep coming back to - because other folk have blogged about it:
- Have a jar with slips of paper with book names written on them, and pick out books randomly. It'll give me a great visual idea of how many books I'm working with.
-Use two colors of paper, one for ebooks I own, the other for Open Library (paper books are problems in Jan move, so I'll ignore them until later in the year.)
- Possibly a third color for Come ON This One's Really Old Now books that have been put off way too long.
-Stick some candy I like in the jar to help me remember all the book choices in there. Because a different, more alert (and usually caffeinated) part of me will be serious about and remember candy - while the part of me that only thinks about books tends to be forgetful. Potential problem: candy shouldn't be something I like too much or it'll vanish too quickly. (Chocolate is definitely out.)
Another tweak I'll need to make is that this can't really be a jar - I need something portable. For moving/relocation reasons. I'd considered making this a virtual/online "jar" somehow with a text doc - but you can't wrap candy in that. (I've become somewhat invested in the candy idea. Because, candy.) We'll see what happens after I do some shopping.
If you have any ideas of things that have worked for you, links, etc. let me know. Again, all a work in progress.