Saturday, 31 August 2013

Reading Habits #2: Do you have a plan?

I'd like to think I do, but I don't. I read all kinds of books. There is no proper system or pattern. I read almost everyday though the number of pages may vary. There are times when I don't read anything at all. This lack of discipline in my reading habit is responsible for the fewer books I read every month. Where others read as many as eight to 10 books, sometimes more, a month and even review them, I'm unreasonably ecstatic if I read more than five books. So far that has happened only once this year.

A major drawback in this attitude towards reading is half-read books. On last count I'd three unfinished books. However, I'm confident that I'll get them out of the way by Diwali in November.

The reason I didn't complete these books is because I probably got tired of them and picked up something more fast paced. In recent memory, two books I read over a long period of time were Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. I quite forgot that I was reading them. They are some of the finest books I've read.

One of my biggest challenges is which books to read and from which category. I can never decide. I vacillate between mystery, western, espionage, war, thriller, humour, classic, and general fiction, like one giant pendulum. The moment my left hand picks up a mystery, my right is already edging towards a western. I want to read them all...at the same time. And I'm not even talking about non-fiction.

There's an even bigger dilemma: will I ever read the books I want to read before I die? Not without a plan.

Perhaps, I can make my task easier by looking up 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, a literary reference book compiled by more than 100 literary critics worldwide and edited by Peter Boxall, Professor of English at Sussex University. I discovered this book online yesterday. I think it covers fiction in all the important genres. 50, 100 or 1,001... whatever the listings I still have to read the books and the sooner I start the better for my  book reading score.

What about you? Do you have a reading plan?


July 16, 2013: Reading Habits #1

10 comments:

  1. I generally have a plan for reading nonfiction that is work related. No plan for fiction, though. I did take a year a few years back to read "Big" books, like Moby Dick and Lonesome Dove. I have had a year or two where I decided to focus on "classics." so I guess there are sometimes bits of plans in my head.

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  2. To be honest, Prashant, I read as the mood takes me. I think it helps keep reading enjoyable. Good luck with finishing your books.

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  3. I'm not a great believer in x number of things to do before I die. Living in the moment is achievement enough, and I'm not very good at it. As for books, I pick a general area, like frontier fiction new and old, and let books find me. Path of least resistance, I guess.

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  4. Prashant, no plans as such. But yes, there are list of books which I intend to read. Hope I begin soon.

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  5. The useful thing about these kinds of books is that they can provide a guide to authors you might now know about but darn if they don;t make you feel guilty and intellectually underachieving most of the time too! Lists are loads of fun but shouldn't really be taken too seriously - I think you've got the right approach really Prashant - just cover the beach with as many blankets as you like and then you can choose where to lie depending on your mood. I dare say that, like Woody Allen in ZELIG, I shall die bemoaning some great book or other than I never got round to reading ...

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  6. I have one of the editions of 1001 Books You Must Read... and I enjoy reading through it and looking for interesting books, but there are way too many books I would not consider reading in that book. I am mainly going to stick with the mystery / crime fiction area and am not too tempted by other genres.

    I have some general plans for mystery reading: Read more mysteries written in other languages than English, set in other countries. Read more vintage mysteries. More spy fiction. Finish series by authors I like. Read from my To Be Read shelves rather than buying too many new books. Even narrowing it down to those goals, I can't read all I want to read. And it is a challenge to work in new authors that I am exposed to. But I am still excited by all the books I am reading.

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  7. Read as the mood takes me. The only plan I have is to make sure I read all the great books/authors (famous and obscure) and not to put off too many for later.

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  8. Not me, Prashant. My reading patterns are very similar to yours. I seem to read more and more by whim than by rational thought. :)

    I have Dickens lined up for one of these days. I have Henry James sitting here as well as Anthony Trollope and a few others. Maybe I'll get to them. Maybe I won't.

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  9. Prashant, I try and set myself a plan, or challenge...but it can be a bit restricting at times. As long as I enjoy what I read, I'm not that fussed. I do like to keep up on several authors, plus what my wife has read.

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  10. Nope, no plan, and I'm sure I have fewer reading years to go than you! What I do believe is one should read what you like. Reading is the one pure pleasure in life.

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