New Reading Rotation

A Reading Rotation

As happens periodically, usually at least once per year, I get tired of my established reading rotation, and I revise it.

(So, why bother? Because I have found in the past that without some form of genre rotation, I get stuck in a rut reading the same kind of book over and over again, despite my wider range of interests. So, when I get tired of one rotation, I find it worth my while to reinvent the “beast”.)

This time, I felt like I was not getting to spend enough time in the genres I either write or love to read. So I revised.

Here is the New Rotation

How Does it Work?

The basic rotation is the column on the left and the top chunk in the middle. I read through this from the top down through the two columns and mark with the month and year each listing read.

Nightstand Book: If a book I’ve read in the rotation is a series, the rest of the series goes on my nightstand to pick from so I do not have to wait for a full rotation to read the next book in the series.

Other Fiction: This is a list of other fiction genres/categories (ex. Goudge is author Elizabeth Goudge, a long-time favorite. I just keep rotating through rereading her books.)

Mystery Rotation: This category allows me to rotate through my favorite mystery authors so I don’t have to wait for them to get their turn in the alphabetical rotation. (I have a lot of books in my favorite genres.) You will find the list of authors to rotate through in the right column.

Non-fiction: I both enjoy and need to read nonfiction (to expand my horizons, build my writing craft, and support the world-building for my fantasy writing). So, this is the list of non-fiction works I rotate through.

Byzantine

I know it looks rather crazy and complex, but it works for me. What really matters is not that I rotate through the genres but how much I read different types of books. This newest helps me read my favorite genres, while sticking to a desire to read other types of works as well.

Your Turn

How do you organize your reading time, or–not? What do you feel are the benefits of your method or non-method for organizing your life? I’d love to know! Just use the comment space below.

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Best Book of the Month: Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

I found a new mystery series to love this August, and Book 1—Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin kicks it off. Set in 12th Century England, Cambridge, to be precise, Adelia arrives from the great university at Salerno, Italy to examine the deaths of four children believed by their neighbors to have been killed by local Jews.

I confess, I almost stopped reading during the first few pages. The initial point of view is present tense and feels nearly completely disengaged from the events being related. However, once Adelia’s point of view is engaged, the story is gripping.

Are you looking for a good medieval mystery, a puzzle to challenge you, and a story to carry you off to a distant, yet unfortunately not too distant time? Check out Mistress of the Art of Death. You won’t be disappointed.

Best Book of the Month: A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

Wow! This month I stopped reading as many books as I followed through and finished. I have so many books on my shelves and my “want to read” list, that I just can’t bring myself to spend time finishing a book that doesn’t grab me or speak to me in some way. One novel, I read past page 100 before I had the good sense to realize, This is not doing a thing for me.

That said, the books I did finish grabbed me by the throat, or the brain, or the heart, and hung on until the very last word. Any book on this month’s list is worth reading.

However, if you can only read one, my recommendation is A Poison
Season
by Tasha Alexander
. Alexander’s Victorian mysteries keep me turning the pages. The main character, Lady Emily Ashton, is an interesting, independent, and imperfect individual. I enjoy journeying with her. The mystery—the theft of Marie Antoinette artifacts—plays with history and her characters hearts. I highly recommend it. (Just be prepared to stay up a little bit later than usual some nights until you’re done!)

Best Books of September

I finished reading The Singing this month, the fourth and final book in Alison Croggon’s books of Pelinor. I must say, like the others in the series it was my favorite book of the month. So have any of you read any of them yet? What did you think?

I feel guilty for choosing a book from the same series for nearly 4 months in a row so in addition to recommending The Singing, here’s another two books I greatly enjoyed. The first is a mystery set in Victorian England, Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn. I enjoyed the story’s puzzle, the setting of the novel, the main character, and her eccentric family. It was a mystery where not only was a puzzle solved, but the heroine stretches and grows through the process to emerge a changed person at the end.

The other book I would highly recommend is Randy Alcorn’s 50 Days of Heaven. This is a small book my mom passed on to me when I visited her this summer. It contains 50 meditations on heaven and is cross-referenced with verses of scripture from both the new and old testaments of the Bible that illuminate and expand common ideas about life with God in heaven. It truly enlarged my vision of heaven and left me excited at the prospect of how I will continue to learn and grow after my body has failed me and I’ve breathed my last breath of this life. Alcorn makes heaven sound so good, the book has an afterword reminding readers that there is also purpose for our lives here in this world, and we should not be too eager to help ourselves make the leap to the next. Read 50 Days… and prepare to have your horizons expanded.