Thursday, November 29, 2007

Read 'n Roll

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Booking through Thursday this week asks:

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…


I might get on a roll about books I acquire inspired by the book I'm currently reading - put on my list something else by that author, or be attracted to something set in the same country or time period - but generally I do not enjoy reading something too related as my next book - particularly if it's a series. It took my about two years to read the Bartimaeus trilogy. I liked it, so I didn't want it to end that quickly. I find that if something has a particular tone, a particular style of language - say Virginia Woolf or E. M. Forster - I get that voice in my head. If the book is very strong I'm almost having internal monologues running through my head in that voice and then when I begin to read something else I'm often disappointed if it's not exactly the same. I've learned it generally won't be the same, so it might as well be different. With genre, I don't like to get on a roll, it's too boring. I don't want three mysteries in a row. One is fine, two can be ok, but that's the max. There too many things I have to do in life. I don't want my reading to make me feel obligated. I read to be interested and I read to be free. I like to mix things up while adding to the TBR pile. Then as I'm sitting in Victorian England in one book, I can gaze longingly at some fantasy novel on a distant planet, or a book about the Russian revolution and think - I wonder what happening in there! I think I'll go there next.

8 comments:

Trisha said...

I agree with you about not wanting to make reading an obligation. It's my one escape.

Also, welcome to BTT. I saw that this is your first post. Hope to see you in the following weeks as well.

BooksPlease said...

I like to vary my reading too, but sometimes find that books I'm reading are connected in some way, quite by chance!

Chris said...

If I like an author, I'll definitely add their other works to my list but I don't read them one after another.

sheila said...

I have more of that "getting on a roll" thing with non-fiction. If I'm into a non-fiction book, I'll look thru the bibliography - and flag books that interest me ... to take my studies further.

Robert Kaplan led me to Rebecca West and also led me to Ryzsard Kapuscinski who led me to Solzheistyn who led me to Arthur Koestler who led me back to Orwell who led me to the Stalin obsession which could last me a lifetime.

That trajectory i just described above was my reading journey for a good 2 years. It was awesome.

heather (errantdreams) said...

I do tend to get on a roll, but only for short periods of time. Then it's off to the next new interest!

Ted said...

Of course I will probably contradict myself now by reading the next book in Garth Nix's series after Sabriel.

verbivore said...

I like what you say about getting a voice in your head. I am reading Virginia Woolf right now and that is exactly what happens with writing so vivid.

Cereal Girl said...

I like to float around inside an author's voice for a while. It has been hard to do lately, since my reading time only seems to come in minutes but I know what you mean about Virginia Woolf. I don't typically read books twice but I've read Orlando at least three times. What could you read after that piece that wouldn't be a let down?