17 October 2011

Just For Kicks: Reading Schedules

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Just For Kicks is a weekly meme held by me, The Authoress, that lets us share whatever random thing we want—whether it's book related or not is up to you.

#10 – Reading Schedules

I like them, and yet they constrain me.  I don't like being constrained.  It isn't fun.  It's uncomfortable, like sitting on a plane between two prim people armed with black berries that glare at every disturbance.  I don't even get up to go to the bathroom because it would be too much trouble.

Reading schedules.

Are annoying.

And yet, I am a freaking OCD person—a list person.  So I need things put in order so I will stick to them.  That's why I write things on my hand in permanent marker—because if it isn't on my hand, it won't get done.  If a book isn't listed to go up for review on my Windows Calendar, it will fade away and get reviewed by complete random at my own personal pleasure.

My reading schedule does fit my pleasure to an extent.  I do have ARC/review copy commitments, but I intentionally keep my review copy intake low because I'm one to lean more towards pleasure than business.  So my calendar is mostly arranged to fit the books I want to read when I want to read them.  My calendar is extremely flexible this way, which is fantastic because I have the god awful responsibility of school (read: college applications) looming over my head like a storm cloud following me around.  (Normally a hand drawn, animated storm cloud would be cute, but not when it makes me lose sleep.  That is a deal breaker.)

But I feel like it's constraining, too.  The very thing that keeps me sane also drives me crazy.  For example, when I check books out at the library, I feel compelled to read them.  Even more so when I share them on the blog via In My Mailbox.  Okay, I showed everyone what I've gotten which leads to what I'm going to read which leads to what I'm going to review.  And I'm already a complete mess about keeping up with blog stuff, so why let down people with lack of reviews?

Sometimes you get bad book batches.  It happens, right?  One time I checked out twenty-six books from the library at one time and only liked a dozen of them.  On a regular basis, I have three or four books checked out at once.  (Twenty-six books at once taught me a value lesson about human extremes.)  And sometimes, I get a bad batch.

I have little to no tolerance about bad books.  That's why I have the 100-page rule: once I've gotten to 100 pages, I can drop the book, review it as a "not rated" and move on.  But that is such a waste of time that I don't have, especially if I have four or five potential "not rated" books.  Usually I can tell if I'm going to like a book by the first fifty or so pages—the 100 page rule is a courtesy.

I feel compelled to read library books and books I receive for review.  And sometimes, I can't reach that critical 100-page rule. 

This is where the reading schedule comes in.  It may take me five days to get to the 100 page mark on a book, so my schedule is thrown WAY off balance.  And like a complete OCD person, I freak out.

So my next logical step would be to completely drop the books I know I won't be able to suffer through and pick up the books I really, really want to read that I haven't been able to get to because these other books have been in the way.

When I get two or three new books in a week, I usually put them at the front of the queue which is why many of the books I bought in bulk are still on my shelf waiting to be read. 

My process generally works for me—I'm always working to make sure I have at least 5 out of the 7 days of the week with a post.  After that barren streak, I've hunkered down and gotten my posts on schedule.  This bad batch of books right now, though, is really bothering me.

Do you have a reading schedule?  How do you organize it?  How flexible is it?  Do you always follow it?