How Do You Decide What Book to Read Next?

I’m the kind of person that always wants to add more books to the pile. More from Amazon, more from the library, more from the shared local bookshelf across the street in front of the coffee shop. How do I decide how many books to read this week? Which one? Help! I can’t decide! This is torture!

If I could read every (good) book ever made, I would.

In fact, I used to look forward to summer because the local library held a summer reading competition and I would try to read as many books as possible before the summer was out.

Gosh, I love books!

But, time has a way of limiting us, and I want quality over quantity.

Recently I stumbled on a great way of choosing which book to read next.

In 2017, I decided to keep a public list of every book I read and share my top 2-3 recommendations in my newsletter each month. I committed to reading more books by women, so at least half of all the books I’ll read this year will be by women. (I’m also tracking the number of books I read by people of color.)

The practice is self-limiting in a great way: because I know that I want to have good books to recommend on my email list, and I also know I’ll only have a certain amount of time for reading (right now, about 2-4 books each month), this affects how I choose books.

Simply by knowing that I’m writing down a list of all the books I’ve read has made me more discerning in which ones I pick up.

If this year’s reading list can only have 24 books on it, which books will make the cut?

By limiting myself to two books, I’ve become more savoring of which ones to read. Sometimes having an edge increases the quality. When you choose what your boundaries are before you begin, sometimes the results are better.

And when you force yourself to decide—even if the constraints are arbitrary—deciding has power to it.

What books have you read this year?

PS: here are my summer reading list recommendations and my entire book list from 2017.


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