Like most readers I’ve got a TBR list a mile long but I’ve recently noticed something about my reading methods that is slightly disturbing; I have an ‘ordered’ ‘To-read’ shelf on GoodReads and I’ve noticed that the top five books, the ones that I am supposedly most eager to read, has stayed static for weeks, months maybe. Now, I really want to read these books but others come to my attention such as a book I spot in a library/bookshop or a Book Group decides to read something I also want to read which results in this interloper leapfrogging my TBR list and into pole position. For example Lampedusa’s The Leopard has been sitting in the top five for ages.
Now, last year I read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time with a GoodReads group and I followed a schedule quite strictly, only deviating from the schedule occasionally. Before I started I wondered if I would be able to keep to such a tight reading regime, but I did, and I actually quite liked it. So, I’ve been wondering lately whether there is any sense in devising a reading plan for a period, say six months, and keeping to it; I mean I would have to include a bit of ‘wriggle room’ but it would be a schedule nonetheless.
My immediate objection to this approach was that I wouldn’t be able to read something if I just wasn’t in the mood for it; after all if I felt like reading some dry-as-dust non-fiction (and sometimes I do) then it would be no good having P.G. Wodehouse scheduled. But, it would surely be easy to plan around this by having, say, two quite different books scheduled to be read at the same time so that I could oscillate between them as the daily mood required. The most difficult thing would be saying ‘no’ to the new enticing book that comes along to distract me from the Grand Plan.
So, I’m interested to know how others plan their reading; do you devise a schedule as I’m suggesting here or do you just decide from book to book? Or is it more like my current method, consisting of a vague intention to read specific books? If you do have a schedule how easy is it to keep to it? And does reading to a tight schedule become boring? This would probably be my greatest concern, that reading to a strict plan would soon become a chore.