My New Game

I love to read. I go to the library every month or so and pick out a stack of books to take home. People don’t go to libraries as often as they used to. In college, I never had time for leisurely reading, and once I was done with school, I mostly just worked my way through books that I had received as gifts over the years, but hadn’t gotten around to reading. There are still quite a few books in my house that I haven’t read (thank you Baltimore’s Book Thing!), but lately, I’ve really preferred going to the library. There are so many books to choose from! And I like having a due date because it keeps me reading. I can pick up the books in my house any time I want–what’s the rush? But with library books, they need to be back by a certain time, so I better get reading and stick to it. It’s incredibly stimulating, and I find that I’m more relaxed when I spend a lot of my free time buried in a book.

But as wonderful as it is, the library is also kind of overwhelming. There are so many books to choose from. I find that I stick to authors whose names I already know, or who I heard about on NPR. That’s fine, but it is also a bit limiting. While I’m not likely to stop doing that anytime soon (it’s comforting to know that you’ve picked out books that you are very likely to enjoy), I’ve decided to try to mix it up a bit each time I go.

While I was at the library today, I invented a new game to help me diversify my reading selections. Each time I go to the library, I will come home with one randomly selected book. That book will be selected by using a random number generator to determine the following:

First Initial of Author’s Last Name (1-26 corresponding to alphabet)

Second letter of Author’s Last Name (1-26. This will help narrow it down to just one or two bookshelves)

Bookshelf row (1-6. The library I go to has six rows per bookshelf, I think)

Book in row (1-25 I am estimating roughly 25 books per row–a lot of the books are hardcover so they take up a good bit of space. If there aren’t that many and the number is too high, then I’ll just take the last book in the row. If the next time I go, I see that there are way more than that, I’ll adjust in the future.)

Whatever the book, I will check it out, read it, and write about it here (unless it is something I have read before. The whole point is to branch out).

For this first go-round, I did not randomly generate numbers beforehand, because I had not come up with this idea until I was in the library. So I just picked a random book. I started at the end of the alphabet (everyone starts at the beginning of the alphabet, and growing up a Woodward, it always pissed me off, so I vow to start at the end of the alphabet whenever possible), and randomly selected a book from the very bottom row on the very last bookshelf in the fiction section.

And the winner is…

A Woman in Jerusalem, by A.B. Yehoshua

I suppose it wasn’t a completely random selection, since I decided to go with this book in honor of the upcoming Jewish high holidays. The book flap description sounds pretty good; I’m excited to start reading it and to report back to you all with my thoughts!


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