Every once in awhile, I like to play bookish roulette. This is when you have a stack of unread books in front of you, you’re at the bookstore or library or you are online and do a random search. Without reading what the book is about (and by an author you have yet to read if you can), you chose and begin the journey into an unknown world you literally have no knowledge of or even small hint. This can be an excellent game such in the case of reading ‘Divine Misfortune’ by A. Lee Martinez or even Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The first was one of the books I already had in my possession (a birthday gift from Editor Joe that I held on for two years before reading) while the other was left on a shelf at my local library. The decision factor was this. Look away from the pile or stacks and just grab it (so no, i didn’t hold the book to my head). However it comes with risks and has not always worked out, especially to those I end up keeping for bath reads, if I intend to finish it at all (Sorry Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven just wasn’t cutting it for me).
How to Play:
Bookstore: The most suitable location for BR is at a bookstore. Now, so you end up with a book at least of the same genre interest you are in, you can choose a section but that’s it. Once you’re in an aisle, just let you hand do the work and grab a book. Don’t look at it until you’ve paid for it and get back home.
Alternative way to play: if your book store does ‘blind date’ books (where the books are wrapped up so you don’t know what you are getting) is also an option.
Library: Hit up the display books or ‘just in’ sections. Again, just grab a book, check it out and don’t look at it until you get home (and yeah, the staff will think you’re weird when you are looking away from the book…and the staff). This is of course a cheaper option (free actually) than a bookstore.
Online: You can do this in two ways–with free or discounted books offered online at Book hub, amazon or other sites. Once chosen, you can begin reading (or deleting depending on how it goes). Too busy? Well then try this game with audiobooks!
Bookish Roulette Beware:
Lately, I’ve been doing this with audiobooks so I can listen and work. Again, mixed results but one recently got me feeling a little disappointed. My search started on GoodReads and I couldn’t finish it. Now, I’m not going to blast the author–it takes a lot to write a book and I did check out some of the writing after, which was pretty decent. My issue was the storyline and theme of the book–dark fantasies. I was not prepared for the story, nor to hear it had a solid following.
Story in one sentence: Girl turning 18 gets kidnapped by good looking older guy who rapes her on his private island and she eventually falls in love with him and submits to him because of Stockholm Syndrome. It was very 50 Shades of Grey…except he kidnaps her and forces her to love him, even though she’s such a weak character who submits right away to build the twisted love story (which has a series). Luckily this was an audiobook on YouTube so it didn’t cost me anything (except my time which I will never get back).
Not every experience is going to be like the one above. Like listening to indie bands or watching foreign or independent films–greatness may lie in something that didn’t reach a bestseller list. Even more so, you might actually enjoy the book enough to check out what else the author has written. This was certainly the case with A. Lee Martinez (ordering Gil’s All Fright Diner next!) and other authors I hadn’t read before.
So, go ahead, play the game and share your results in the comments!