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A Rule for Reading June 26, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Bookshop Ramblings.
Tags: , ,

I dedicate this post to my friend bourach 🙂Too Many Books

Sometimes in life we need rules. Maybe all the time: as bourach reminded me recently, the rules are what make things safe; without them we face chaos.

Here’s my proposed rule for reading when you’re faced with too many books and you don’t know where to start: do you start with the old ones or the new ones?

My rule is: Read the new ones first.

Why? Because the old ones will always get older; the new ones will never get newer. If you read the new ones whilst they’re still new, then you can turn to the old ones later. Do it the other way round, though, and you’ll only ever have old books to read.

Books: probably the only thing in life I’m qualified to make a rule about!


1. bourach - June 26, 2009

Aaah but now things get more complex. Some of the old books are new to me so therefore count as new books and not old ones although technically as a result of age they’re old. Also the old ones are books I inherited and am therefore obliged to read as they came from someone I loved very much. And I’ve just finished my Christmas new books so maybe it’s time for old books. And I’m keeping the old books and not getting rid of them as opposed to the new books of which I’ll keep the ones I want to keep and give the others away. But then theres the old new books that are by age new but are already read which have to be read again to decide whether they’re going to be kept or given away.

Add all this stress to the fact that the new old books have to be read downstairs due to the rules and the old new books similarly have to be read upstairs for similar rules it all gets very complex.

And you haven’t taken into account that if I start a shelf of books I can’t deviate from that shelf for any reason until the entire shelf is finished irrespective of old newness or new oldness.

Now I’m sure that was entirely clear 😉

Phil Groom - June 27, 2009

Er, OK — you win, I think. On the other hand, using my expertise as a professional bookseller and reviewer, I may yet attempt to overturn those rules 😉

2. Elizabeth - June 27, 2009

Wow. And I thought I found it hard deciding what to read next… I’m currently reading a book I bought moments before being evacuated from a train station; fun times! Thus, I am not reading old books, but a new one, which apparently it’s film is released today, thus, making me want to finish it before the very slim possibility I might actually go to the cinema. Hmm?

Phil Groom - June 27, 2009

And the rule here is always read the book before the film, except when you’ve already seen the film in which case you read the book before you get the DVD, unless you’ve already got the DVD, in which case why have you got the book??

fromthesamesky - June 29, 2009


3. Elizabeth - June 27, 2009

I try to read the book before I see the film… I don’t buy many DVD’s so I think I’m alright on that one.

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