Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I've Got To Read Less. Seriously.

By "seriously" I mean that seriously I am overwhelmed with content.

The Problem

First, there are all the books I want to read on a variety of subjects. Children's and YA to keep up and because I do like a lot of this stuff. Adult fiction. Short stories, both anthologized and in journals. Essays, both anthologized and in journals.  Nonfiction, both long form and short, about time and marketing and zen and tai chi and writing process and French language and things I haven't thought of yet.

Then there are the masses of material that comes to me by way of Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, links to some good stuff. Because I have published an eBook with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, I now get a monthly periodical through each of them. I get Shelf Awareness through a local bookstore. I have an arrangement with my local library to get on-line periodicals, which hasn't been working very well recently, but now that I have my own laptop, I want to work that out so I can start reading Poets & Writers on a sort of regular basis.I subscribe to Yoga Journal and The Horn Book. The Kripalu catalog comes a couple of times a year. (I don't know why. I've never been there.) I read it the way one of my family members studies the Ikea catalog. Then there are the blog carnivals I take part in from time to time. I do make an effort to read what some of the other bloggers have to offer. Oh, wait. I thought of some more. There are all the blogs I visit researching places to promote Saving the Planet & Stuff and the lit journals I should be reading researching markets for my short form work. Oh, my gosh. My Feedly blog feed!

I taught myself to read in the car (when I'm not driving, ha-ha) years ago, and I read when I'm using a treadmill or stationary bike. I read when I have to stir something on the stove for a specific amount of time or beat something for X number of minutes. I read newspapers and magazines and on-line material for the hour or two when I'm sort of watching TV in the evening. I read in bed, at night and sometimes professional material in the morning before I get up.

No matter how much I read, there is always more to be read.

The Effort To Deal With The Volume

The Rule of One I considered just blowing off the newsletters from the eBook publishers, but I found a really good blog article through one of them just today. I'm going to do with them what I sometimes do with those terrific Cynsations News posts, just pick a couple of things to read and let the rest go. In fact, with the publisher newsletters, I'll probably be safe limiting myself to one. I've had to be selective with the Carnivals, too. I don't try to go to every site listed.

No Listicles Shelf Awareness carries a lot of what I've seen described as listicles. They're just lists of things, not articles with any meaningful content. I just gave those up a couple of months ago and have no interest in them if I run into them somewhere else. Shelf Awareness I skim for the new adult books.

Just Stopping I've been reading Salon for years, but I'm about ready to give that up. I did once before for at least half a year. It's extremely predictable politically, and even if you agree with its politics, how much of the same thing can anyone read? The ratio of political rants and overly personal personal essays to literary and popular culture content is too high for my tastes. Believe it or not, we'll also be giving  up our daily newspaper when the most recent subscription expires. They're running the thing with little in the way of local writing, so it's overwhelmingly made up of wire service stories and wire features. I can use that time for reading other things.

These are very minor efforts, but I feel I need to make some. You know, because I like to think I've got some control.

Does anyone else have systems in place to deal with their reading load?


Jen Robinson said...

It is overwhelming, isn't it? I use audiobooks as much as I can when I'm doing mundane things, like cooking or folding laundry or flossing, or when I drive anywhere by myself. I read magazines while I blow-dry my hair, and if I happen to be eating by myself. I can't read while riding the exercise bike (or in the car) because I get very motion sick, so exercise time is my (pretty much only, except for baseball games) TV time.

One thing I've found recently that helps is that I pre-skim the blog posts that I subscribe to each day on my cell phone, and star the ones that I'm interested in. The small screen encourages me to decide based on just a couple of lines whether to read further or not, and I think it save time overall (though I might miss a few things, of course).

Gail Gauthier said...

Jen, I've heard if triaging posts like that. I was e-mailing posts I wanted to read later to myself for a while. Though I did get to them, they ended up sitting in my in-box for a while.