It's true. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a ... problem. I cannot, CANNOT, read just anything that crosses my path. I have a schedule, darn it! I believe there are just too many fabulous books in too many fabulous genres. If left to my own devices, I might **gasp** read chick lit after chick lit with nary a classic in sight! And then I would be missing out on someone like, say Carson McCullers. Blasphemy.
So here it is. I read in "cycles," and read one book from each genre before beginning again. I have methods for choosing which book to read, but that is a trade secret. Plus, if I let you know that, Corey will be so mortified that it is painfully apparent he married a major, total geek.
Cycles go like this: Literary Fiction, Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, Classic Fiction, Chick Lit, Children's Fiction.
Lit fiction is the category for my Mark Helprins and John Irvings, T.C. Boyles and Margaret Atwoods. This is when I read the heavy fiction, the Pulitzer winners, etc. That doesn't always mean I like what I choose to read, but most of the time I do.
I generally read in different nonfiction areas, such as memoir, religion, parenting, women's studies, business and writing. I try to mix it up between, say, a book on Buddhism followed by a Malcolm Gladwell.
Popular fiction is for the current thrillers, the "fluffier" stuff, the Dan Browns, etc. Hey, don't I get a break after slogging through the Buddhism book?
Oh, classic fiction, be still my heart. You are my bread and butter, my John Hardy and my Harper Lee. There was a reason I was an English major.
Chick lit: Come on, I just finished a D.H. Lawrence! I deserve it!
Children's: Every children's writer needs to be familiar with the best of their craft, period.
In practice, here is what a recent book cycle looked like:
Lit fiction: Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese
Nonfiction: The Parents We Mean to Be, Richard Weissbound
Popular: The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
Classic: The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
Chick: Twenties Girl, Sophie Kinsella
Children's: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Just because I am OCD doesn't mean I don't break my own rules, because I do. Every so often I will drop everything for a must-read (Gone Girl -- totally worth it), and all bets are off on vacation. But all in all, this is why I don't join book clubs. It doesn't fit with the schedule.
So there you have it. Now, I have to juggle this with my obsession with magazines. And that is a different story.