Reading, The Sunday Salon, Whatnot
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Books To Read: December 2012

Books To Read: December 2012

I’ll be doing this feature differently for this month because 1.) there isn’t much on this month’s pile and 2.) I will be changing the way I do my reading plans for 2013, if the Mayans miscalculated. More of the second reason in the next few weeks.

This post takes its cue from this blog post on how to choose a book. I will list down the items here for your convenience. Well, not all of them. I’ll just select a few ones that are generally relevant to my picking habits.

  • 1. By its reputation. The book is considered a classic or, if new, has received glowing reviews. – Check.
  • 2. By its author. You’ve read and admired the author’s other works. – Check, but it doesn’t apply this month.
  • 3. By its cover. You like the way it looks. – Check, but it also doesn’t apply this month.
  • 4. By the movie. You’ve seen the film adaptation and wish to compare it with the book, or you want to read the book before the film comes out. – It’s somehow a check, because I haven’t heard that there will be a movie when I first desired to read one of the books. I have to admit though that the many adaptations coming out soon are exciting me.
  • 5. By a recommendation from a friend. – Check. Same with #2 and #3.
  • 13. It’s by a brilliant author, it was suppressed by Stalin, and it’s published for the first time in English by the New York Review of Books. – Check, but only for the first item.

There’s another item that I consider but which is not on that original list. It’s:

  • By title. – Somehow a check.

There are also other items that I consider but which may fit into the other items, which are:

  • By requirement. – Book club picks are self-required. This item may fall under #5 since I am friends with most of the book club members. (Note: I didn’t include the book of the month here because I only intend to borrow a copy and I haven’t met the lender yet.)
  • By translator. – This item may fall under #13 but yes, it can be argued that the author is different from the translator. In that case, let’s make it fall under #1.

Enough of that already. The books for this month are:

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – this pretty much eats up the rest of December. I have actually managed to build a reading support group for this with some of the members of our book club. I didn’t realize that a lot of them will be interested. Is it because of #4?
  • The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass – I need to finish this. I won’t let it go to next year’s pile. After all, I had a lot of trouble looking for this edition translated by Breon Mitchell.

And what happens to my backlog? And Ulysses? Nah. Forget them. I’ll just pile them again for next year. I know I have a serious backlog, but in a few hours, after I click the Publish button, I’ll be finishing my 52nd book for the year, Anna Karenina. Hurray! 2012 Reading Challenge completed! This explains my complacency.

How about you? How do you choose your books? Will you be changing your picking habits for the next year?



  1. I also buy books by Publisher. Vintage is almost always a good buy, and so is Simon and Schuster. Of course, Scribner’s and Viking. And Penguin!

    Sometimes the cover really matters, too! Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood must be in the list for a new cover.

    Though the Nobel matters, yes, but not all the time… there are tons of other unrecognized books because we’ve been stuck with literary canons: Hemingway, Tolstoy, Faulkner. There’s so much more in literature like Gunesekera, or Pramoedya Ananda Toer, or Leyner or Barthelme or Brautigan, which can be marginalized by the Nobel or the Pulitzer or the Booker.


    • Those are pretty obscure names. How did you find out about them? I think though that the Nobel, particularly during the speculation and betting season, can bring out a select infamous writers, but it can only do so much.

      And yes, I prefer Vintage Books, although the publisher isn’t really an issue for me.


  2. Good luck with Les Miserables! :) I support your support group!

    How do I pick a book – I usually go by theme. I choose a theme for the month and pick from there. Sometimes it’s because of an upcoming movie, or because of recommendations (ex. Cloud Atlas). There are times when I want to read a book because of something that happened in real life (ex. right after my brother’s wedding, I craved for romance, so I reread one of my favorite YA books that was heavy on romance). :D

    I am going to reach 100 books this year, at least, but I feel bad that I lowered my goal twice. Haha. Next year, I’m going for 52. :P


    • I always go for 52 because I think one book a week is an acceptable pace for a slow reader like me. I don’t know how fast you read (I think you are faster than me), but yes, 52 is a good number. I even think that 48 is also good (4 books a month).

      And thanks for your inputs and support! I haven’t tried doing a theme, and I am not sure if I could do that. :D


    • But it can be conquered. Hihihi. I haven’t seen a Lampara Classics edition of it, but I have seen a Frankenstein and Dracula.


  3. readerbuzz says

    I can easily close any book except one deemed a classic. It was almost impossible for me to say no to War and Peace. I don’t think I’ve really accepted it that I’m not coming back to the book.


  4. Good luck on reading Les Miserables this December.:)

    I pick books to read depending on my theme for the month although I’m thinking of changing it because it limits my choices. But I agree with most of your criteria on how you choose books especially #13 regarding works suppressed by Stalin.:D


    • That’s a problem I find with thematic picks, unless you choose overarching themes, which isn’t always possible. I am actually amazed with you guys who pick by a selected theme, mostly because I couldn’t think of a theme that I would stick to for the whole month.


  5. My choice is usually a combination of factors – most of which you’ve mentioned. The only one that’s not here is my mood on the day when I am ready to start a new book. I might have had a plan to read X for months but when the time comes, it might not suit my frame of mind so I’ll pass until another day


    • Hmm, I haven’t tried making a selection based on mood. So if you feel happy, you read happy books, or is it the other way around?


  6. I do not have a system to pick which book to read next, although I do try not to read 2 books of the same genre one after the other. As to whether I will be changing my picking habits, I guess the answer would be no, I’ve been quite happy with how it has been so far


    • That’s good for you. I mean, I always find myself changing stuff, which can be either good or bad depending on how one looks at it. :)


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