Might also call this - right books. Pun not intended. The Globe and Mail had an interesting essay yesterday by Nancy Pearl, explaining her Rule of 50 for books. Like many of us, she was raised with the work ethic to finish what she started, including books. I admit I do feel an obligation tp keep slugging through, for a myriad of reasons, such as: others liked it, so it must just be me that needs to try harder, I owe it to the author that worked so hard, my friends will think I'm a quitter. When the author became a librarian, surrounded by more books than she could even attempt to get through, she realized she needed a new rule to manage her focus better to the "right" books. She reads critically, giving a book 50 pages to prove itself. If it hasn't grabbed her by then, if she doesn't care if the butler did it, if she doesn't even care if the butler dies - she stops. She adds that if you really only want to see the ending- then flip to the end. Either way, when you bring a book back, the library doesn't know how many pages you read. Your friends may think if Oprah loved it then you should too - that's their problem.
So, I dumped a couple of books this week. I was about a quarter of the way through The Girl Who Played With Fire, but had just left it sitting there. It seemed I always had something else to do, or another book to read, so I decided to put it out of it's misery and returned it. Probably gave it more of a chance than 50 pages. I also dumped The Orange Eats Creeps- looked like an interesting and quirky book from all the reviews, but it was way past quirky for me. Too hard a read, even to get to 50 pages, maybe another time. A couple of books on writing were ready for my pickup, so I grabbed them and also suspended my other hold requests. Requesting online is handy, but when you're suddenly at the front of all the queues it's a bit overwhelming.
I should clarify the above 50 page limit is for books that you've already decided you want to read. When you're browsing the bookstore or the library shelves, a new author might get from you a quick read of the dust-jacket promo, and the first few lines - if you're lucky the first page or two.
Next book for our Sci-Fi club is by Orson Scott Card, The Lost Gate. I'm on the hold list for it, at number 44, but there are 15 copies so may be mine by the end of the week. While waiting for it I grabbed another one of his,Pathfinder, the first volume of another one of his series. It was on my hold list too but came up on the Express 7 day loan shelf so I snagged it. Done in two days - liked it very much.
Also on my reading "list" are newspapers and some blogs. I get The Citizen and The Globe and Mail, both interesting in parts, but it's easy to spend hours with them. Same as blogs, I have some RSS feeds I follow in Google Reader, mostly blogs by writers and editors. Oh - and also get some newsletters from various sites - photography, cooking, news and analysis. All interesting sources, but eventually all this reading gets in the way of writing. Which reminds me, although blogging here is creative nd fun, I've got that novel to keep on editing. Ciao.