GUEST POST: What on earth do I read next?
On October 8, 2020

Guest blogger Paul Grech is back this week …

Now, what should I read next?

For book lovers, that seems to be a constant dilemma. Or at least it is for me. I swear that I waste an hour each week trying to identify what to pick up next, going through lists in search of that perfect book in which to get lost.

The situation is even worse after finishing a particularly satisfying read. In the afterglow that follows, it’s a fight between wanting to get back to reading and being fearful of ruining the good vibe. In those instances it is difficult for whatever I choose to measure up, which deepens the dilemma.

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

To think that over the years I’ve tried to develop strategies to help me along. I’ve built lists of books that I’ve heard about in the hope that when I need the name of a new book I can pick one out with a greater level of ease. Whenever I hear of an interesting book or I read a good review I very meticulously take note of it and, in that moment, it seems like a brilliant next choice. When its turn comes, however, it seems to lose its shine.

This is the same reason that fuels an ever growing TBR [to be read] pile. Step into a bookshop and every book magically starts to seem like a must-read and I have to exercise extreme restraint to avoid spending an excessive amount. Pick that same book up from your own shelf, however, and you start doubting whether it is “truly” what you would like to read right now.

In the end the best decision is often the most straightforward one: just pick a book and start reading. Typically when a book first piques my interest I do enough research about it – what it is about, the author, what people have said about it – for me to filter out any options that I wouldn’t like.

In any case, I operate a fifty-page rule. I know that this might distress some readers out there but if I can’t get into a book after fifty pages then I simply put it down and start something else. Occasionally I realise that the problem is one of mood in that I’m not in the right one to read that particular book. In those cases it goes back into the TBR pile. Often, however, it is simply not the right book for me and I see no reason to plough ahead and read it.

Ultimately, life is just too short to waste on books that you don’t like.

Paul Grech is an avid reader particularly of sports, sci-fi, fantasy and non-fiction books. He is also a writer as well as the publisher of Paġna Mmarkata, a magazine (that is also a bookmark) of original Maltese writing.

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