Method or Madness?

  I know I’m not alone in having my own idiosyncracies when it comes to books, but I caught myself doing something strange the other day when it came to choosing my next book.

This newly discovered and often whimsical, by my standards at any rate, phenomenon, which thinking back has been going on for years without me noticing it which says something for my all round observational skills, I term ‘Method Reading’.

Like the method acting technique that aims to bring about more realistic acting, I do the same with books.  Being keen to immerse myself in each and every book I read, I find it only right to wait for the perfect conditions, like a golfer before each shot.

Sometimes it’s just common sense, I read a christmas book at christmas, otherwise I just wouldn’t be in the mood, I like to save The Famous Five until summer or possibly spring as the books always give off that sunny vibe.  Sci-fi books and horror usually get read at nights, horror is always better tasted alone and sci-fi is always more immersive when not bothered by the actual world. in fact it’s nice to have a little reading light that blocks out everything but the words on the page.

Similarly books based in Africa are only read during Summer as I associate Africa and the sun together, Russian books are read in autumn and winter as Russia is always cold and snowy in my head.  These simple factors are understandable, but then I start to factor in a whole host of different stuff.

  • Authors people have mentioned to me offhand.
  • topical events in the news that remind me of something I haven’t read.
  • Books I feel I should have read but haven’t gotten around too, like a whole host of classics, I really need to allocate one bookcase as a ‘bookcase of guilt’ in the hope I get through all the books I’ve had for years.
  • And of course the most popular one, being annoyed because I didn’t know the answer to a question a friend posed and having to read a whole history or science book just so I’ll know for next time.

So what I really want to know is am I alone in this particular trait or do you guys have some other more fascinating and crazy way of picking what you read next? Or indeed any other bookish ways that you care to share.

12 Replies to “Method or Madness?”

  1. I love the idea of following the reading seasons 🙂 I don’t do that, but if the book I’m reading mentions an author or a book, I’ll often try to read that one next.


    1. I know what you mean, I make a list of authors and books, then as soon as I finish a book, look them all up on the internet. Then my Amazon ‘wishlist’ gets even bigger.


  2. I do the unthinkable… I judge a book by its cover!
    That, and I’m slowly making my way through ‘1,001 books to read before you die’.
    Although, I’m slightly intrigued by this seasonal approach… I might have to give it a test run and catch up on my Russians in November…


    1. Russian authors, ridiculously epic, and that’s just the names. I’ve got 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, as well. It gives me so many ideas, shame it didn’t include non fiction, but i am picky. Book cover judging works if the book is shiny I find, it’s the magpie in me that comes out.


  3. Oh my G! Before I thought I was crazy and had a strong case of OCD, but look here! 🙂 I sometimes do reading books in season. Also, when a book was mentioned in a novel I was reading, I will try to read it next. Not only that. I also searched and listen to songs mentioned in a book. I even made playlists to some. Seriously!

    I also feel the same when someone asked me about something and I forgot the answer. It is annoyingly depressing (depressingly annoying? whatever) that I know it, but forgotten. So I won’t let it pass. I will research about it again until I find my peace of mind. So I guess you aren’t alone in that trait.


    1. It’s nice to find other people who share a sense strangeness. I think you beat me for weird (but good) ways. I will try out your ways and see if I get a greater experience of books from it.


      1. Oh, I am weird personified. Speaking of books, how do you cover yours? I use simple plastic cover bought in our local book store. I wrapped it too tightly around a book, not letting spaces for air to exist. I even inspect it under the light to make sure that the plastic didn’t leave any bump on the cover.


        1. I don’t cover mine, in fact it’s not something i have known anyone except libraries to do but it sounds interesting, I have at least a few amazing books i want to keep pristine, although whether I would have the patience is debatable. I love your attention to detail but am really jealous that you have a local bookstore, I have to travel for miles to find a decent one.


  4. Not really, prob would depending on my mood and concentration power at the time but depend on the library/audio book company to have something/ send me something off their list. radio 4 extra do scifi at midnight but i’d prefer if they continued comedy at that time when on my own. esp as sci fi is part of a series.


    1. Comedy is the best, have you ever listened to Just A Minute, that’s great comedy, I have a whole raft of 25ish minute episodes I can send to you, it’s a simple game but has clever word play in it, Kenneth (ooo matron!) Williams and Clement Freud are great on it.


  5. ‘bookcase of guilt’- what a lovely term! I have quite a few of these, since I’m first and foremost a collector. I collect books about ancient history, ancient and Renaissance art, illustration, calligraphy, the classics. In his book ‘How to Read a Book’, Adler describes the different ways of reading. I’d say I’m more of a skimmer most of the time. But when I discover an essential book for my consciousness I am all the way analytical about it. For me, the true art of reading is learning and understanding more than I did before.


    1. If i can shame myself into reading the works that intimidate me or I just never feel like reading then my learning and understanding will be a lot better rounded off for it. I like your mix of books, very erudite indeed. With all the great books in the world, skimming is perhaps the future of book reading my friend.


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