Last Sunday, PeanutButterandSkittles searched: How do you choose what book to read next?
I answered: Mostly, I let my friends tell me what to do.
It has come to my attention that in the long and exciting history of inaccurate answers given on the Gwendoogle search engine, that is the undisputed most inaccurate answer to have ever waltzed across this screen. My little sister laughed out loud when she read it. Several of my friends have messaged me with a simple, all-capitals NO, YOU DON’T. Others more politely pointed out that it’s nearly impossible to get me to follow a recommendation for books, movies, or television shows without bribery, direct trades, or threats of violence toward semicolons. And I’m famous for that.
I have sheepishly admitted that I gave the simplest answer I could. There are two friends who I listen to – both of them are responsible for introducing me to a series of books which I love – and the rest of the time, I have a thousand different reasons for picking up a book.
A thousand reasons.
That seems too many to enumerate.
So, here’s ten.
The Next Ten Books in my To-Be-Read Pile:
On my shelf for: Four days
Why I’m going to read it: 80% because my friend, Kate suggested it to me, and she has yet to suggest a book to me that didn’t end up being somewhere in the like-it to love-it range for me. 18% because it’s about vampires, and I am a sucker for vampire stories that explore the line between humanity and monstrosity. 2% because the title is written on the cover the same way I like to write quotes on my wrist and that made me smile.
On my shelf for: Three days.
Why I’m going to read it: I’ve been seeing this book around for years now, and it always catches my eye (I have a thing for white, black, and red). Last week, Amazon offered the first five chapters for free on the Kindle. I got hooked by a robot with personality issues and the fact that this Cinderella has a built-in lie detector. And then there’s the prince with a secret, a weird plague, and I poked around enough to find out that the series ends up with Snow White on the moon, so… I have to stick around for that.
On my shelf for: Three months
Why I’m going to read it: This is the third book in The Gentleman Bastard sequence, and I loved the first two. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is because I didn’t want to run through all the available books in this series at once. From The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies (the first two books), I expect an action-adventure story with a strong sense of culture, a lot of snark and humor, and at least five separate occasions where I want to slap the main character. I should have a very good time.
On my shelf for: Four years and four months
Why I’m going to read it: This was a Christmas gift from my older sister. She gave me three books that year, two of which I read within weeks and enjoyed immensely, while this one got shuffled to the back of the shelves for no good reason. I love playing with grammar the way typos tend to, creating humor and, occasionally, interesting new meanings. I found this book while I was sorting through my shelves the other day, and now I’m in the mood to read it.
On my shelf for: Five years and four months
Why I’m going to read it: I was a Classical Studies major in college. Classics is one of those strange disciplines that manages to combine hard facts and the fluid, messy material of myth. It’s one of the reasons I loved it enough to spend three hours a night translating during school, and it’s exactly the reason I like reading historical fiction from that area. Alexander the Great is actually a bit late in the timeline for me, but… [shrugs] Pressfield’s writing is beautifully impacting, and I’m excited to give this one a whirl.
On my shelf for: One year and three weeks
Why I’m going to read it: 80% because my friend, Kate suggested it to me. 10% because it’s also set in the ancient Mediterranean, and takes it’s inspiration directly from the Aeneid (if it’s not going to be beautifully messy with myth, I’m a parakeet). Also, 10% because I have never read a book by Ursula K. Le Guin, and I feel guilty. I was supposed to read one of her novels for class five years ago, and I think I was supposed to read a lot of her novels just as an English major who enjoys fantasy fiction, but I didn’t. I think I owe this one to myself.
On my shelf for: Seven months
Why I’m going to read it: 15% because my friend, Bek suggested it to me (I feel absolutely horrible that it’s that low a percentage. I’m so sorry). 40% because I saw the movie and I liked the way it played with Romeo and Juliet. 45% because I have just discovered the television show, iZombie, fallen in love with its kick-butt, cannibalistic Tinkerbell of a main character, and now I’m concerned that there’s a whole world of zombies out there that I have been fruitlessly dismissing based on a few bad run-ins with horror film and disaster flick zombies.
On my shelf for: Nine months
Why I’m going to read it: Because I have already paid money for it. I paid money for it because I was sitting in a friend’s living room, and she told me it was amazing and I was in the middle of one of those days when I felt I should be more suggestible when it comes to books. I had my Kindle out. I had an internet connection. I could own this book by tapping the screen in a strategic spot. I tapped the screen. I paid money for this book. Now, I’m going to read it and learn some sort of lesson about impulse control. I just don’t know how that lesson is going to go yet.
On my shelf for: Twelve months
Why I’m going to read it: I bought this book after realizing that I had been out of school for three years, and I could probably use a writing craft refresher. This book had been on an old professor’s suggested reading list and it didn’t cost much, so it came home with me. Now, I have been out of school for four years, and I am going to read this book before it becomes five.
On my shelf for: One year and five months
Why I’m going to read it: I got this book as a White Elephant gift two Christmases ago, because I am unable to resist packages that clearly contain books. I believe it was bought to be ridiculous, but the author quickly assured me that he was aiming to make Stalin look like a romantic hero in his early years, which made it an very interesting read. I started it, put it down just because it was a heavier read than I am used to, but I would like to pick it up again for the adventure.
Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.
The question bucket currently has: 3 questions (and they all scare me)