I haven’t done this in a while. I used to do it fairly frequently.

Generally, I split my attention between five books or so. I can categorize them by context / purpose:

  • Work reading: Something work / skill related, that I read at some reasonable pace, which takes precedence for reading starting Monday until I finish the week’s quota. Currently I’m reading Design Patterns, and my weekly chunks are “read one pattern” which only takes about 30 minutes and makes a nice cognitive segment.
  • Personal chore reading: Something that I always mean to read, but never gets started unless I make a point of it. Currently it’s the entire collection of Edgar Allan Poe. Right now, each time I finish a personal pleasure book, I read 5% of this collection (minimum — keep reading until 5% is reached and I hit the end of a story or other natural break). After I realized how long this was, I wasn’t willing to follow my normal pattern of alternating between chore and pleasure reading.
  • Personal pleasure reading: These are the things I would read naturally — usually science fiction or fantasy. I try to vary between the two, and vary between older and modern. Currently it’s the Broken Sword.
  • Commute listening: Now that the kids aren’t in the car with me, I don’t need to worry about whether they’re sufficiently entertained during my commute. So, I started listening to audio books, since I get a minimum of one hour per work day to do it. Currently it’s Lord of Chaos, book 6 of the Wheel of Time. This is an attempt to get through the entirety of this series in a relatively unbroken chain and relatively short amount of time (which will probably be more than a year).
  • Home paper reading: All the reading above is digital. Mostly I read on my phone. And I have a huge queue of digital reading already. And I rarely have paper books with me, unless I’m at home. So, paper books just don’t get read if I don’t make a point of it, and I can’t reasonably just stop other reading when I start a paper book, because I would have it with me so rarely. Therefore, on the weekends at home, I read a paper book. Currently, it’s How Music Works. I might get through 10-20 pages a weekend, so it moves slowly.

Every once in a while, I get a specific reading assignment at work, which I have to dedicate time to in order to finish — over Christmas break I read Winning with Accountability for a discussion among managers at work early this year. A smaller subset of managers and I are going to start going through The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which should take roughly one hour a week.

The last batch of Poe stories (Lionizing, Devil in the Belfry, Three Sundays in a Week, King Pest) have been boring or ridiculous in ways that I think could be made more interesting. A lot of his writing is over the top in a way I don’t find very appealing. I’m really not a huge fan of most of his writing. It seems to be a good bet that if the story’s name is a woman’s name, I won’t like it. I actually started reading Poe because someone told me that Lovecraft mostly wrote Poe fanfic. Maybe for some particular Poe stories, I suppose.

I’m not going to be able to differentiate between what happened in Wheel of Time book 5 (last finished) and 6 (currently listening) — but it’s right in the murky middle of the series where all of the female characters are the same unbearably annoying character, and where Jordan seemed to have lost focus on actually getting anywhere with the damn story. The book could probably be cut in half pretty easily without really losing much.

Provenance by Ann Leckie was not a bad book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. I got this because I loved the Ancillary trilogy. This was clearly in the same universe, and wasn’t a bad story — but maybe it focused too much on the main character’s experience simply exerting self-control and weathering self-doubt and fear.

Posted by snaotheus


One: I am gobsmacked that you didn’t listen to audiobooks in the car. There are tons of juvenile fiction that all of you could have enjoyed. Kids can listen to stories that are way over their heads and still get most of it.

Second: Poe overwrote partly because of the time period he lived in and partly because he was breaking new ground every time he breathed. The Gothic and horror elements were pretty much a new (or almost new) thing, and he paved the way for all sorts of genres and motifs. I was the person who told you Lovecraft is mostly fanfic for Poe. I love Poe’s use of language, his sense of rhythm and pacing, his weirdness. He was also a very uneven writer; some things are fantastic, some are silly, and some just fall flat. Some of that’s because we can’t read through the eyes of his time period.

See you shortly!

Mom, if I tried to listen to a story with the kids in the car…if I was interested in the story I would have been frustrated by the constant distractions and failure to just pay attention. If I wasn’t interested in the story, I would have hated the commute listening to garbage. For the ages they rode in my car, the best case scenarios were pretty damn bleak.

I chose a good path. My kids like music that we have in common.

Whatever works for you and yours, darlin’ boy. 🙂 (Though good juvenile fiction should be reasonably interesting for adults, too. I read a fair amount of YA and occasionally juvie, but it’s much harder to find interesting stuff the younger you go.)

You’re missing an important point: I can be interested in a good juvenile fiction — but at the ages they were riding in my car, they wouldn’t be able to shut their fucking mouths and listen to it. So, assuming I found good juvenile fiction that I wanted to listen to, they’d be an obstacle to me hearing it. Not a “happy case” scenario.

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