Required Reading

Once upon a time, the Playwright, the Norwegian, and I tried a book group. It didn’t work. Why? you may legitimately ask. We are all people who love to read and talk about what we read. It was the Required part of the reading that made it all fall down. As soon as we decided on a book we all wanted to read it became undesirable because required. Oh the oddity.

I was put in mind of this failed experiment in reading by two incidents recently. First, I read a blog post in which the blogger decided to read the top selling book for every year from 1913 to 2013. Because some books made the top spot for more than one year, the reading list is 94 books long. I looked at the list and thought that is interesting. It sort of goes with my reading old books resolution. But not quite. You see I resolved to make sure I read books first published before 1970 1/3 of the time in 2013. I did not specify which old books I’d read. There are many possibilities. I own many possibilities. I just have to look around and select one of the possibilities. There is no requirement that I read any one particular book.

The second incident occurred in the bookshop where I work. A gentleman came in toting his recently published book to find out if we’d carry the book. He asked me if he could leave the book with me. I said NO very firmly. He made his pitch to my manager. My manager came back and put the book on my desk and informed me that it was my turn to assess a book as two of my colleagues already had reading assignments. Ugh. Required reading. How irksome. Oh well, I’d better give it a try.

Do you find that making a book “required” in some way deters you from reading the book? Or does it give you incentive to read? I wonder if it is a personality thing. Probably.


1 Comment

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One response to “Required Reading

  1. Luke

    I can imagine you saying no very firmly, and then imagine you when the book gets dropped on your desk.

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