Deciding What to Read Next

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If you’ve read my What I’m Reading page then you likely read a little about how I decide on what to read next. I have something of a process that I’ve followed now for at least the past two years. Here’s what I take into account before picking my next read:

  • The last five authors I’ve read are off-limits. For example, I just read a James Patterson novel so I won’t be reading another one of his for a little while. I never read authors or series back-to-back. I think I might enjoy the books less if I did that.
  • The last five series are off-limits. This is pretty obvious from the first point. But I do have one series that is written by several authors so this would apply to that particular series and no others because the author point would apply to series written by the same author.
  • The time the book has spent on the to-be-read shelf. I have to admit that I have some books that have remained on the shelf for years. It’s not necessarily a knock on the author or the book, I just always make up an excuse to pass it over. For instance, I have a Tess Gerritsen novel that I purchased at the recommendation of a friend of mine all the way back in 2012. I think. I’ve had it on the shelf since then because I honestly don’t think I’ll like it. This is why you shouldn’t take recommendations from non-book people! But sometimes I’ll say to myself, “Hey. This book has been waiting to be read for a long time. Let me just read the thing and get it over with.”
  • The length of the book. Yes, I take this into consideration, unfortunately. It’d be hard not to. I currently have three books on the to-be-read shelf over 500 pages. Um. No. One of which is part of a series I’ve read before. The other two are the first in their respective series, which is one more reason not to read them!
  • The author/series. This is separate from the first two points because I’ll likely not put off a series or author who I know I enjoy reading. But authors I don’t know may get less preferential treatment. Just happens.

So, all in all the most important things I take into account as I’m deciding which book to read next are the first two points. As long as I haven’t read a specific author or series within my last five books then they’re fair game. If you’re wondering, I currently have 14 books that I’d be able to read that meet the first two requirements. But of course, I’m not actually considering that many.

Tell me how you decide on which book to read next. I’m quite certain you’ll have a different philosophy from me. Let’s hear it!

22 thoughts on “Deciding What to Read Next

  1. I use a variety of methods. I have a very large to-read list right now, and more than 100 books I haven’t read currently sitting on a bookshelf in my home. I also don’t read series back to back. I try to alternate genres, too, but that doesn’t always happen. When it comes to eBooks, I just read them in the order I downloaded/bought them. For print books, I sometimes let readers of my blog decide what I’m going to read next and put up a poll. I often put off reading some of the lower rated books, but with this method, I can’t avoid them now.
    It seems like half of the books I read are more than 500 pages long, with the occasional 1000 page novel. Takes a while to read!


    • Hm. 100 books at home needing to be read. Could never do that. Just too many. Probably won’t ever have a poll to let someone else decide what I should read either. Guess I’m picky.


  2. Not repeating authors immediately is something I’ve started only recently. I mainly try to mix it up in terms of genres – if I’ve read something heavy in non-fiction I compulsively pick up something in fiction.


  3. I like mysteries, also, and exhaust the authors I like best. I do not read fiction exclusively, so novels take a backseat when I’m interested in non-fiction. I also read fiction other than mysteries. I don’t have a next-book method. I impulsively choose.


    • Before I read Anne Frank last month I couldn’t tell you the last time I read non fiction. Maybe eight years ago? Off the top of my head. I think three of my 14 to-be-read books are sci-fi.


  4. I really need to implement some of these rules. I tend to get in funks, where I only listen to one band or only read one author. I don’t mind it so much with the music, but with books it starts to feel like tunnel vision.


  5. I have a game I play. I lay out all my books and roll a set of dice. I start at the beginning, or at some point that can seem like the beginning, and count up until I reach the number on the dice. I do that three times and then roll the dice again and count up the number of the dice with the three books I got from the first half of the game. Whatever book I stop at is the next book I read. Though, if a new book in a series comes out I will read it first, or if I am reading a series I will just continue with the series until I finish it. I am usually reading more than one book at a time though.


  6. I’m a pantser when I write, and I’m a pantser when I read. I go with where my emotions lie. If I’m in the mood for an adventure, I pick that. If I’m lookin’ for a little romance, I pick that. When I need to immerse myself in the genre I’m writing, I pull the fantasy/sci-fi books off the shelves. If I’m restless and can’t decide, then I fall back on an oldie, but goodie. Among those are: Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling’s Comprehensive Poetry, or L.M. Montgomery.

    My TBR list is quite extensive, including both fiction and non-fiction. I just can’t seem to stop procuring books when I still have so many to read! Gah!! It’s an addiction.

    Is there a book-buyers-even-when-I-don’t-have-time-to-read-them anonymous? Hmm…

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