Fiction Friday: Picking At Random   Leave a comment

My daughter does something I love. And I thought maybe it was something only little kids did until I read a book by Gary Paulsen where one of the characters did the same thing. Elisebeth picks books at random from the library.

The first few times she did this, I thought she was crazy, but I’ve since changed my mind. She doesn’t pick all books this way. She has her favorites: Dora, Clifford, the Berenstain Bears. But we usually let her pick two books whenever we go to the library and the first is always chosen randomly.

But something amazing happens. Those books end up being amazing experiences for us. One, Birdsong, I’ve already written about, but there have been others. Naamah and the Ark at Night taught me about a type of poetry I’ve never seen before and showed me that I’m not the only one who wonders what Noah’s wife’s name was. Dad and Me in the Morning talked about the sunrise and starred a boy with a hearing aid. I love when books acknowledge all the differences we have that we don’t always think about.


There are other books with names I’ve forgotten. But she’s never chosen a book that I thought was terrible. And we’ve discovered a lot through these books. It also makes me think about when I was a kid. How did I pick new books to read?

I ready constantly, so I had to have a system of some kind. But I don’t remember it. In seventh grade, I had a librarian who became a kind of friend. I didn’t have to pick books after that. She’d have one ready for me whenever I came in (which was almost every day). And her taste was spot-on when it came to picking for me. After that year, I usually had a favorite author and I would read everything I could find by them until the library had no more. And then I would try someone similar, or hope to find a new favorite. Joan Lowery Nixon was followed byPiers Anthony, who was followed by Mercedes LackeyRobert Jordan got brought on board when I needed a new book before work and it looked thick enough to be worth the money. But before all that, there must have been a time when I chose at random. And it there wasn’t, maybe it’s something I should give a try.

How do you choose the next book that you’ll read? Have you ever chosen at random? If so, what was the result?

Disclosure: Most, if not all, links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through them, I will receive some small percentage. The price you pay will not be changed, but feel free to type in the site name manually if you are opposed to affiliate links.


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