When I look at my bookshelf, I see two types of books: those that are fun, and those that are enlightening. There are those that bridge the gaps, of course: books like 1984 and a lot of the stuff from Chesterton and Lewis.
But then there’s Conan the Barbarian here, and Bushido: Soul of the Samurai there. While any good book should also be to some extent enlightening, certainly Inazo’s Nitobe’s work will give a little more direct insight into the warrior mentality.
How do you choose? Admittedly, I don’t have a perfect answer for that. For a while it was oddly stressful, and then I realized I was getting nowhere with my reading–not unlike my writing. It was time to sit down and just read.
Without stressing the numbers or the specific titles, I now try to keep a balance between the two: a few for fun, and then something a little more challenging and enlightening. And, sometimes, the middle-grounders (I’ve got Dune on my short-list).
I’m getting a lot more reading done and I’m learning more. If your shelves are full of stuff you picked up because you probably would like it anyway, don’t stress it, just read it!
Fantasy Adventures Volume 1: Five Short Stories of Humor, Love, and War is out now for 99¢!