It’s been a long time since I’ve had reading deadlines.
But I recently joined a wonderful book club and now often find myself having to figure out my reading schedule.
I used to read at my own pace. And when I finished a book, I would decide what book to read next and start that one. All very simple and straightforward.
And this is the approach I took after I joined the book club. Oops.
I was reading Americanah with a couple of hundred pages to go when I realized that I had three days until my next book club meeting (and I hadn’t even started our selection). I don’t want to rush through Americanah so what do I do? I sighed, reluctantly setting aside Adichie’s book for later.
Other times, I find myself finishing the book too early. I want the ideas and my reactions to be fresh in my mind, not buried under my thoughts of two or three other books.
And, sometimes, it works out. I had two weeks to read Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses (which I just loved – having the two weeks, but also the novel itself). A great pick by my book club.
I’ll get better at organizing my reading schedule in time, no doubt.
I know what you mean. I’m in a book club, too. It’s a perfect social outing for an introvert–focused talk about books! Plus, it gets me reading books I wouldn’t otherwise. But as you point out, it can be hard to schedule appropriately. My club only meets monthly, so I find if I read the book too soon, I forget little details (or even big ones like names), but if I wait too long, I risk not finishing it. Such a conundrum. (But a good one!)
Exactly, Carrie! I find myself forgetting character names too if I haven’t just read the book. We’re all scrambling through the book, searching for the names!
I guess my real life struggle of remembering names extends into my reading world. I’ll have to start using mnemonics to remember characters’ names. 🙂
Haha, me too!
I’m not in a book club, thankfully. I have a hard enough time meeting my own obligations/deadlines around reading. The added pressure would kill me. 😀
I’d suggest taking notes if you think you may finish it too early. That way, you can just go back and do a little review before the meeting. Maybe?
That’s a wise suggestion I really should follow. I’ve been bookmarking key pages I want to return to in our discussion but taking notes would be better so I can move on to another book and not forget too much.
The problem is that I often read in the bath which isn’t so conducive to note taking!
Americanah is on my to-read and shall add Horses also. Just. Like That.
My wife borrows most of her books from the library, which has a three-week reading period. She loads up, but not from the new books, always from the stacks. This way, she doesn’t feel bad if she doesn’t get them back on time, which she rarely does.
Let me know what you think of Petterson – I was surprised he hadn’t been on my radar before.
Those fines at the library always make me smile. I always feel a little guilty as they are so small.
Psst. Ours doesn’t even charge.
Best library ever!!
I don’t know if I could schedule my reading too tightly. I don’t always read at the same speed. Sometimes I get caught up in the story line and fly through the book. I then find myself leafing back through the book to get the details.
This is so true. There are those books one just devours and you keep telling yourself ‘slow down, slow down’ but you just want to gobble it up. And other times, you want to sip each word like a fine wine.
That’s why I sometimes have to put aside a book I’m reading to get to a book club selection. I don’t want to rush through a book just because I have to read another.
p.s. I love your wonderful daily selections of quotations on your blog!
Thank you for the p.s.
That would be hard to have deadlines like that, but then there’s the added fun of getting to read books you might not normally read so it sounds like a good tradeoff so far. The only book club I’m in is with my mom and brother and it’s a virtual one through email so that helps. We set up the emails like the groups in Goodreads so a msg might say “Chapters 1-10” and then we don’t have to read that msg until we’ve finished that section. So then the reading speed isn’t supposed to matter but sometimes we end up getting into a virtual race.
I love your mini book club with your brother and mother!
I was hesitant to be part of a book club at first but, as you point out, it’s been great in terms of discovering new books and authors. Plus, they’re a good group and we have wonderful discussions.
I read to a schedule all the time now, through taking books for review. I can now pretty much judge how long a book will take me depending on subject matter, genre and length, but occasionally it all goes horribly wrong when I hit a book that I really struggle with! But I find scheduling makes me read far more than I would otherwise. Still haven’t decided whether that’s a good or bad thing though….
I was thinking that you must schedule your reading quite strictly to be able to review so many books. As long as you have moments in the year to read at your own pace, I think it can be a good thing. Like being back at school (in the good sense), having that set time structure and discipline and therefore getting all that wonderful reading done.
I have never been in a book club, not sure if I’d like it or. Looks like I would likeyour club’s selections though!
For the most part, I’ve really liked the selections. And when I haven’t loved them, the discussion is always interesting. Opens you up to new books you wouldn’t necessarily read too.
It must be a little like buying your books at good will, you get what’s available, and I have discovered some wonderful books I would have overlooked in a bookstore, “thrifting” for books.
Letizia. You always find the best books for me to read!
Letizia you amaze me with the amount of reading you do. I wish I had more time to read. I don’t watch much TV I prefer to read most nights. Usually have about three different books to choose from. Still I feel there are never enough hours to sit and read. Its almost a guilty pleasure at times and that should not be. We humans need to read MORE. Thats why I love your space. You are my constant reminder to pick up that book. The book club sounds wonderful too.
I think we all wish we could read more, I agree. Some bloggers I know read a lot more than I do! But I have to read at my own pace, sometimes I read voraciously and other times a book seems to call for very slow reading. Thanks for dropping by, as always.
I have trouble with reading things if I’m not exactly in the mood for them. On Bookcrossing, there’s the opportunity to participate in bookrings. You sign up and then each person reads the book, makes a journal entry about it and sends it on to the next person. I’ve tried a couple, but sometimes when it’s my turn for the book, I’m not in the mood to read it, so I’ve given up on that. I’m at the point in my life where I just want to read what I want to read when I want to read it.
I like the idea of bookrings as, if I’m understanding you correctly, the physical book gets passed on from person to person. That sounds like a fun experience to try once.
I’ve never belonged to a book club because I know I can’t commit to it. The closest I’ve come to doing that is the recent Harry Potter ReRead-along through Sheila at Book Journey. I couldn’t resist it because it was HP and I hadn’t read the series since 2007 (when Deathly Hallows was released). For me to finish the series in the 5 months, I had to calculate. There are 4100 pages in the series and I divided it into the days I had to complete it. I needed to make a chart(https://writersideup.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/reading-schedule-chartforbookjourneyharrypotterreread2014.pdf), but for one book for a book club, it’s just a matter of doing the math so you know you stay on track with the page count. Wouldn’t you be able to jot down notes of the points in the book you’d want to discuss so when you’re AT the book club your notes would bring you right back into the book?
Wow, that was quite a chart! I’m impressed 🙂
Letizia, I’m SUCH a chart/list person, but I had to do that so I could see her time table against mine and be sure I could keep up 🙂 All you really have to do is count the pages you need to read and by when so you know how many pages per day you need to read to finish in time. You could just put a post it inside the cover, list the page quotas say, as an example, in 28-page increments like mine, so you’d have 28, 56, 84, and so on so you don’t have to do the math every day 🙂 What I started to do is I’d put a second bookmark at the page I needed to read up to, so as I go I have the one bookmark where I left off and the second where I stop for that day’s quota. Of course, if I’m near the beginning or end of a chapter, I may not be precise about the word count, but I still keep close to the guide. Lately I’m several days ahead ’cause I’m reading Deathly Hallows! lol
I have been In a Book Club off and on for ten years and you would think I would have my schedule down pat, but life has a way of changing plans. If I finish a book too soon, I resort to the online book summaries and discussion questions that are helpful in jogging my memory. I’ve tried my kindle for book club and it’s harder to retrieve info quickly, so I now get used books so I can mark them up. I’m not familiar with the two books you have featured. I will add those to my list. 📚📚
It’s interesting what you say about your kindle. The members of my bookclub who started off with kindles then turned to paperbacks as they too found it more difficult to navigate back and forth during our discussions. We always make sure there are plenty of copies of the next selection in our library so we don’t have to buy the book if we don’t want to. (love the little book emoticons!).
My wife is in a book club and she always seems to read the book in like two days and the next day is the group’s meeting. I tend to take longer especially these days when my reading time is so limited.
Your wife has nailed it, haha! Or perhaps being in a bookclub long enough teaches speed reading 🙂
Good luck with your reading! I can’t imagine keeping up with the books for the club as well as my own reading list (I’m a terribly slow reader). Jilanne’s suggestion for taking notes is very cool. I’ve been keeping a spiral handy when I read these days–nothing formal, but it let’s me jot down a quote, a question, or my own thoughts as I need. Wishing you well always.
I like your and Jilanne’s ideas of keeping a notebook. I often read in the tub I think I may write down some of my thoughts after I finish the book at the very least. Thanks for the idea.
Errgh, no more clubs or meetings* until I die. I’ve had enough of them over the years and still (of course) have to suffer them at work. Even the enthusiastic Jersey Writers’ Group which has just sprung up – I support it but can’t physically go and sit around a table yapping. So I get through books in my own good time.
*Apart from outdoor stuff like running.
I love the asterisk, that made me smile. Fortunately our book club meetings are a lot of fun and not filled with any pressure. It would be fine if I didn’t finish the book, it’s happened before with other people and we just fill them in on what they missed so they can still participate in the discussion.
Bravo! I’ve never been a part of a book club, because I’m just so dang busy. I’m sure it’s cool to meet up with people and chat about books. What’s not to love about that? But, what do you do when you have to read a book you don’t want to? That would be tough.
I’m still pretty new to it but in general the books have been great. There was one book which I didn’t love but the discussion was very interesting (our group is a wonderful mix of people). And, of course, you don’t have to attend if you don’t want to or can’t. It’s all about having fun in the end!
Awww I know what you mean about wanting the book to be fresh in your mind to discuss it, not as a distant memory two books ago! I try to write my reviews of books right after I read them while my reflections are still at the forefront of my mind, even if that post sits in my blog dashboard for a week before I post it. Are you enjoying the group of people in your book club? I hope there are good reading discussions 🙂
I would imagine that it’s very similar for book reviewers. Writing it down in advance is a smart idea. We have a lovely group of people, a mix of men and women and different ages and backgrounds. While I’m relatively new to it, so far it’s been wonderful.
That’s great to hear! A mix of perspectives sounds great 🙂
Oh that is so hard, having to put down a book that you are really enjoying to read another! And I totally agree about not wanting to bury your thoughts of one book by immediately turning to another. I like to have a gap between, and I seem to be slow reader anyway, so I don’t think I’d last two minutes in a book club. But I hope you get your schedule down to how it works for you Letizia, and that you can still enjoy every morsal of every book…with time enough to do so 🙂
That was the most difficult scenario so far, Sherri, having to put down one book I hadn’t finished to start another. I hope I don’t find myself in that situation again! But I am learning so I think I have learned my lesson, haha!
This is the reason I avoid book clubs, so many books already to read and with little tie, how to fit yet another book in and one that may not even be one you will enjoy. Having said that Out Stealing Horses sounds great and I will have to pick that one up. I don’t envy you the reding schedule but will be jealous of all the hidden gems you find.
We don’t meet too often so it’s ok in the end and, in general, the book selections have been great. The deadlines have sometimes been challenging but in a fun way (although perhaps that will wear off, who knows?!).
Interesting to read of your book club experience. If I joined a book club it would have to be one that didn’t mind if you hadn’t finished the book because I am a very slow reader.
You could go to every other meeting to give yourself plenty of time to read the book 🙂
Yes that would be another way to do it.
I love it when I find another really, really good book blog. Although, technically you found me, I think. You have the indefinable something which has to do with taste, Americanah has been on my must read list for a while now and has just gotten bumped right to the top, the ability to totally nail the reading life in words, and loving dogs.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Jill! Loving books and dogs, two shared passions, how could we go wrong? Americanah was a good read. She’s a natural storyteller and I look forward to reading her other books as well.
I have trouble juggling books. I’m the same way with writing novels or short stories. I can’t manage more than one at a time. I like to consider myself a multi-TASser, but I guess in my creative world, it’s impossible.
The cover of Out Stealing Horses looks awesome. What is it about?
Out Stealing Horses is hard to describe. It’s about the relationship between a boy and his father in Norway right after WWII but also about the boy when he is a man in his 60s reflecting back on that time. Set in the Norwegian countryside. Interesting read.
Book groups and deadlines can be very productive. The deadlines can drive you on to finish books that you might otherwise not have chosen to read, or perhaps just de-prioritise. And groups are good for checking your own responses with other unthought of views. Groups can also include someone tiresome or awkward, which is good for developing patience and tolerance (within reasonable bounds of course!).
Dare I ask: have you ever seen the sitcom The Book Group?
I agree. It’s good to be forced to read some books beyond one’s usual preference and I’ve enjoyed listening to others’ thoughts on what we’ve read, especially on passages or themes I didn’t think noteworthy to me. And yes, in group settings, some patience is always needed (it sounds like you’ve been in a bookclub yourself haha!).
I saw the sitcom a while ago but I should watch it again now that I’m in a book club. Thanks for reminding me!
I am a bit lazy for reading deadlines but then, recommendations and reading schedules of book clubs are cool in their own way. My book club experience, unfortunately, starts and ends with Goodreads.
There are pros and cons to deadlines, it’s true. The book club has met up every two months or so which has worked out great as it still gives me time to read my own selections.