When Reading Books Is In Your Job Description

When reading books is in your job description - March 18, 2019     Submitted by Debbie

A big question I get at the store is “Do you read all these books?”  The answer is no, but I do read a lot.

I try to limit myself to one ARC (advanced reader copy), one current release and one older book at a time. Booksellers have an embarrassment of riches situation; the number of books at our disposal is crazy.  Choices are tough and many times I’m coming home with a new stack of books and I can see my husband internally cringing (as you can see by the picture - my bedside “table” continues to grow). I am not a re-reader of books, except for the occasion when I have to refresh my memory of details for book club or a book chat.  I also have to make sure I am diversifying my selections.  I tend to gravitate to historical fiction and narrative history so I only allow myself to read 1 of either of these genres weekly.  I am a fast reader, though I wouldn’t say I speed read. On an average week I read 5 books.  Many people ask how is that possible.  Well, I watch very little TV, I no longer have small children at home, and reading is my relaxation.  Just as someone who can sit and watch hours of TV or play a computer game for hours, those hours are my reading time.

When choosing books, I miss some bestsellers. The newest and greatest big release, more times than not, are the books everyone is going to know about and everyone will read. They are probably very good.  But I like to find that new book/author that we will want to tell everyone about, a book that may not have the big publishing money behind it, maybe it is a debut author, maybe a midlist author but these are the books that need me.  If they are good, these are the books we want to talk about.  These books need us.  These books are the INDIE NEXT picks.  These books are the true gems we want to savor.

I am also extremely guilty of judging a book by its cover.  Though I tell others not to do that, I do have a hard time picking up a book with a cover I don’t like.  It really makes no sense.  Covers do not reveal the quality of the book, nor does it tell us the book will be great.  It is something I really am working on, I promise!

Reading a series:   I cannot think of a series I have ever finished, though I came close with Harry Potter, but alas never made it through 6 or even started 7. Even as a child, my love of Little House on the Prairie couldn’t even get me to finish all 9 books.  I’m not sure how many I actually did read.  I am sure of the first 3 books, but they are probably the only ones I read. Generally, I try to, at least, read the first book of a series so I know who or what the series is about.  Maybe it is my focus, maybe it is formulary writing but I find myself getting bored with series.  I don’t mind continuing characters at all, but I want a conclusion with every book and if the character shows up in another book, I really don’t want it all to be about that character again.  Give me something new.

And for the question – “Do I finish every book?”   Absolutely not.   I will read about 1/3 of a book before I give up.  I return to the thought of my stack of books that make up my bedside table – and no truer statement than Too Many Books, Too Little Time.