How I Choose What To Read

I found this buried in my drafts, and I’m not sure why I never published it. So, consider this a very, very belated response to Elizabeth’s post. Which I obviously really enjoyed, so much so that I wrote a post in reply.

How do YOU decide what to read?

On a daily basis, when it comes to which book I pull off my bookshelf / start on my Kindle, I try to keep a good balance between what I’m reading – fiction and nonfiction, and types of each. So if I’ve just finished a memoir, I’ll look for something other than another memoir. This is why I try to make sure I’ve got lots of different types of books checked out from the library at all times, so I can fit the right book to my mood or situation. Blogging has actually really helped with this, because I try to post a mix of books, and that means I have to read a mix. No reading jags of nothing but mysteries for a month if I want to have any other material to share!

How I Choose What To ReadFrom a broader viewpoint, I find books to add to my reading list through a variety of sources: blogs, library newsletters, magazines, Goodreads…. I’ll often look for books on a particular topic if I want to learn more about it, and there are favorite authors I attempt to keep up-to-date on their works, so there are books I specifically search for (or not, now that I know some ways to easily find new releases by those favorite authors).

What genres do you find helpful, encouraging, or uplifting?

Memoirs and biographies are one of my favorite genres, and even though many of them are not necessarily any of those three, many of them are.

I also like a lot of Christian living / spiritual growth type books that fit those categories.

What are your priorities in reading — ie, why do you read?

I read to be educated. I read to grow spiritually. I read to learn more about people. I read to be entertained. I try to balance all of those goals as I vary what I’m reading, although it does depend on what else is happening in my life. If a pregnancy has me exhausted and all but brain dead? My reading choices are heavily weighted towards entertainment or lighter reads. (I may resemble this remark right now.) I wrote a post that somewhat addresses this topic as well – reading for quality vs. quantity)

How have you intentionally formed a Christian perspective on reading?

I haven’t ever explicitly thought about developing a Christian perspective on reading (although that might change when I read Lit!Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke). I do try and keep in mind that my reading time is limited. If I say yes to this book, it means saying no to another book.

It’s something I continue to work on, and still need to improve at it – I find myself reading books that I end up wishing I hadn’t. I love historical fiction, and so often historical romances have a premise that will catch my eye. It is so rare for me to not regret spending my time reading those books – even if they are somewhat entertaining, they’re never entertaining enough to justify the reading time.

There aren’t many books I read that I think are harmful – those I can easily pass on. It’s generally “meh” reads that sometimes trip me up. The handful of books that I do think were harmful to me weren’t ones that I would have guessed would be. One dystopian read taught me that semi-realistic dystopian books get me to fret and stress over things I can’t control. The book wasn’t creepy or graphic, but the premise stressed me out. Now I know. Another mystery unexpectedly had one scene that was incredibly violent and horrifying, and it stuck in my brain in a very disturbing way. I immediately put the book aside and wished the reviews I’d read had given some sort of warning about the content.

Any other thoughts about reading, specifically as a disciple of Christ?

The main way I approach reading as a disciple of Christ is that I generally don’t let myself read anything unless I’ve read my Bible that morning, and I try to always have one or two books of a spiritual nature in my current reading stack.


  1. Great topic. I never know why I choose what I choose. It seems pretty random to me. You sound a lot more intentional than me 🙂

    • I used to be completely random, but started being a little bit more intentional when I realized I was burning myself out on certain genres or topics. Variety works a lot better for me!

  2. Yes, Lit! will definitely help you think through forming a Christian philosophy of reading… although it sounds like you’ve pretty much already done that. But I can’t recommend that book highly enough for Christian readers!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and linking back to my blog! 🙂

    • Thanks for writing that series, I really enjoyed it (even if I did forget to publish the response post for months.)

  3. I read primarily for three reasons: to learn, to be entertained, and to become a better writer myself.

    My next post (set for 4/10) is my 1000th post on my blog. I have chosen to highlight 100 favorite writers (writers who consistently draw me in). It was both fun to reflect on favorites and hard to assess whether I had faithfully narrowed the list down to my top 100. So many great authors. So many great books available.


  1. […] my post about How I Choose What I Read, I explained how I try and balance what I’m reading, and how I try to pick books that will be […]

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