I’ve posted before on rereading (and being more picky with book choices). This is just a handful of quick bullet points to add some details.
- I don’t count anthologies or collections in this. I love novels, but the cold calculations show the return on investment for my enjoyment and for studying the writing craft. The majority of my fiction reading is in magazines and yearly Best Of collections, which exposes my pea-brain to hundreds of new authors and ideas in a very compressed space.
- Even for short stories and essays, I’m ruthless with my time. The story doesn’t have to start slam-bang, but if there’s no depth or anything of interest in those first couple pages, or I believe the author is too busy making a point and forgot to actually write a good story, I move on. In a good collection I read maybe 50% of the content. The rest is uninspiring noise.
- With my rereading I’m far too ambitious. That backfires often, and I’m left not with enjoying the experience but concerned I’m not going to hit my re-read targets. It’s very sad, right? October has me rereading 18 books and reading 2 new ones (which get reread right away). I need a simpler system.
- Books that I read to solve a problem (for my day job) I don’t count. They’re reference works in most cases, and I don’t see myself sitting down in front of a fire with a warm drink and my dog reading The Definitive Guide to DAX.
- I never feel obligated to read a book. Every holiday I end up with a grip of books from family and in-laws who don’t know what I like reading, just that I like reading. Those books get no special treatment. All books are subject to the same ten minute test.