I’m standing at the bookshelf at the top of the stairs, eyeballing the bottom shelf: the to-be-reads. They’ve stayed on the to be read shelf for a few months, now, and I know that it’s time to choose one of these, and not another library book.
Sitting down, I start pulling books out, reading the descriptions again, and putting them back. Do I pick up and read Emily Ley’s book about simplifying my life (judging by the state of my closet, maybe)? What about Mary Oliver’s Devotions? I’m slowly working my way through that book, thumbing through one or two poems at a time in the playroom at sunset.
Maybe I should finish Emily McDowell’s book, or start the one I bought at the used book store by Jen Lancaster.
I just don’t know how to choose. I glance at the to be read fiction and smile when I see A Wrinkle in Time. I haven’t read this one since childhood and vaguely remember the story of a young teenaged girl and a tesseract. Perhaps, on this gray day, that is what I’ll choose.
I can’t say with certainty how I choose what I’ll read next. Looking over the list of thirty-six books I’ve finished so far this year, I can tell you I read more female authors than male ones. Thirty-five of the books finished this year were written by female authors.
Sometimes I choose a book based on its cover, the description of its plot, and how I’ll imagine devouring it in a naptime, curled in the chair under the window. Other times I choose a book because I want to know more about a subject. Lately that subject has been parenting, with me devouring books by Janet Lansbury and about preschool play at home.
Today, I think I’ll be choosing my book based on what will be best for reading beneath gray skies. This differs for everyone, but for me, it needs to be something with a fantasy element to it. I grew up loving fantasy, and on dreary days, there is nothing like diving into a world of magic and myth.
For someone else, their choice of reading material on a dreary day could be mystery or true-crime, or even non-fiction. I like to choose poetry when it’s chilly out, or when I just need a few minutes away from prose.
I also like to make sure I am choosing books from a diverse well of authors and a variety of genres. I don’t enjoy true crime novels, but I love reading biographies of various historical figures and pop-culture icons. I also love reading books about theology, and of course, fantasy novels.
Furthermore, if I pick up a book and don’t enjoy it? I put it down. Sometimes, I don’t like a book because it’s not the right time for me to read it (I felt this way the first time I read Dune). Other times? I don’t like a book because it’s just not for me - and that’s okay! I recently bought a book that I started and haven’t yet finished. It’s a good book, but I’m just not that into it. I’ll pick it up later this year and try it again - who knows, I could love it next time I read it!
Finally, when choosing a book, I try very hard not to judge a book solely by its cover. I’m totally guilty of picking up a book because the cover appeals to me, but lately I’ve been trying to pick up books that I wouldn’t otherwise read, ones whose covers don’t call to me. In doing so, I’m finding more and more that I love. Sure, there have been duds, but for the most part? I’ve found lots of new books to try and that I love.
Choosing what to read next is a challenge, but one I happily take on, day by day. Today, I’ll dive into fantasy. Tomorrow? Who knows. Maybe I’ll finally finish that book of poetry I love.