As I wrote a couple weeks ago (I think? Time has no meaning), I’m reading just as much as ever, and more or less the same things I used to. I have a harder time dragging myself away from my Twitter news feed because so much is happening, but I have a little more time in general, so it evens out to as much reading as usual.
I do feel, though, that I want to cut back on the planned/scheduled reading I’ve been doing over the last year so I have more time to read at whim. I’ve been doing a round-up of independent press books for Book Riot for over a year now, which has meant once a month I post about 5-6 newly-released books that I liked from small and independent presses. I’ve loved researching forthcoming books from small presses (Edelweiss is a weirdly-organized website that probably makes more sense to bookstore and library people but I spend a ton of time there and find it invaluable). I’ve discovered so many great presses and wonderful books this way. Last year almost 75% of the books I read were from small presses and so far this year 65% are. I don’t want this to change! A big part of my small-press reading is books in translation, and I don’t want that to change either. I think putting the work in to find lesser-known books (lesser-known because they don’t have huge marketing budgets behind them) is well worth it.
But as someone who reads around 6-8 books a month, this schedule hasn’t left a lot of room for other reading — books from major presses and older books in particular. I don’t want to stop doing these round-ups entirely, but I’m planning on posting them less regularly, probably whenever I just happen to have enough new books read for a column. I do like reading structure and there can be something soothing about knowing exactly what I need to read next and why. But it can also be suffocating and that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. We’ll see how this new plan works!
4 responses to “Scheduled Reading”
Before the current disruption started, I feel very much as you do. I always seem to be chasing my tail with books that I needed to read for various groups I run and lectures that I was giving. My way round this, was to schedule one long weekend a month when I went into ‘retreat’ and just read what ever I felt like. It was probably easier for me to do this than it would be for you because I don’t have the pressures of a family needing my attention and I can go into ‘isolation‘ quite easily. Because my external pressures were all face-to-face events I’ve been able to be much more fluid in what I read over the past 10 weeks or so, but when those take up again I shall continue with that practice as a means of saving my sanity.
Your weekend retreat sounds amazing! Perhaps when Cormac is older, I’ll be able to do that.
I do like a little bit of structure, but not too much, that’s why I rarely do challenges at all. Good luck with your plan! I have tried Edelweiss but I don’t understand it at all and I lost patience. I dip into Netgalley from time to time but I don’t want it to be the bulk of my reading.
Yes, Edelweiss is complicated! The “review copies” section is the most useful, but you still have to search through a lot of books to find things you would like.
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