What happened when I used a random generator to choose my re-reads

Some time ago, I explained how I choose which book on my shelf to read next. I was only using this method for ‘new’ books, which I hadn’t read before. Then I decided I wanted to do more re-reads and of course there was only one way to choose them…

I made a list of all the books on my shelf I hadn’t read for at least five years (or thereabouts), generated a random number and whichever book was at that number on the list, was my next re-read. Here’s what fate chose for me…

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I’d been thinking about reading this one again, as it’s one of my favourites. And hey presto, it was chosen as my first re-read. I still loved it this time around. I finished it just as everywhere was starting to be closed due to coronavirus.

The Bachelor by Stella Gibbons. Considering that I was intending to re-read Stella Gibbons anyway, this was a fortunate choice. Since I have several of her books on my shelf, it’s statistically more likely that she’ll come up in the results.

The Last Man by Mary Shelley. Re-reading this tragic story of a plague in the 21st century seemed an odd coincidence. I probably wouldn’t have wanted to re-read it otherwise, as it seemed a little too close to what was happening.

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. I’ve read the Gormenghast trilogy twice and was due for another re-read. This curious, witty and gothic piece of literary fiction was excellent escapism during lockdown.

The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories edited by Tom Shippey. This generally excellent collection of stories spans nearly 100 years. When I opened it to re-read again, I found a post-it note from last time, on which I’d listed my favourite stories!

Remember Me by Christopher Pike. I have a few books on my shelf by the master of 90s American teen horror. It was about time I re-read one of them.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I re-read this classic every few years and since the last time was 2014, it seems that the random generator knew it was due. I’d also recently acquired the DVD, so I watched it straight afterwards and then wrote a ‘film of the book’ post.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J K Rowling and Jack Thorne. I read this playscript when it was first published in 2016 and ever since I watched it last year, I’d been meaning to re-read. J K Rowling has of course been in the news lately and although I wish she hadn’t alienated herself from many of her fans, there will always be a place in my heart for the books.

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I previously featured this book in a time-travelling bookworm post, mentioning that I’d be sure to re-read… well, I ended up re-reading sooner than I’d anticipated!


13 thoughts on “What happened when I used a random generator to choose my re-reads”

  1. I did not ever think about doing this! Smart! I am on a quest to read everything in my library that I still haven’t read (over 100 books O_O ) but you know, i may use this technique to generate my tbrs.
    Also, it made me think… how would it feel to have to re-read a book in the middle of a series? For example, if it chose Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I wonder if I myself would have chosen to then re-read the entire series or not

    1. Wow I might be starting a trend for how people tackle their TBRs and re reads šŸ˜‰ Hmm, I don’t think I’d want to re-read a single book from a series, I’d have to start from the beginning.

  2. I should try this approach as it might spur me into reading a bit more! For some bizarre reason I’ve tried an ‘alphabetical approach’ as I was staring at my shelf making pained noises and ended up going ‘darn it Gerry, just start with the ‘A’s’ then!’

    1. It might work for you šŸ™‚ but you have to accept the generator’s decision or it won’t work. The alphabetical approach is sensible, I used that as a teen when I took out 12 books from the library šŸ˜€

    1. Thanks! It takes the stress out of choosing the next read! If you type ‘random number generator’ into Google, that’s the one I use, but I’m sure there are others too.

  3. I have yet to read Stargirl. Its been lying there on my tbr for some time now! Now, I think I finally will! šŸ˜

    I have The Oxford Book of English Verses and ITS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITEEE!!! šŸ˜šŸ˜šŸ˜šŸ˜ I think i need to buy the story ones as well! šŸ˜

    Okay I loved this post, N! So great to see you enjoying your re-reads! ITS AWESOMEEE!! šŸ˜šŸ˜

    1. Please read Stargirl soon! It’s a really lovely book. That’s so nice the verses are your favourite! I need to be reading more poetry šŸ˜‰ Thanks for your wonderful comment as always Rain, I do love my re-reads and you’ll be seeing lots more of those!

      1. OH YAYYY!! I love re-reads as well!! Will wait for your posts! šŸ˜šŸ˜

        And YES FOR STARGIRL! Will read it sooon!

  4. Randomly picked reads are the BEST – they have a way of forcing you to spice up your reading by picking from different genres. šŸ™‚ What a fab idea! Also, thanks for turning me on to The Last Man – I enjoyed Frankenstein, but hadn’t looked into Mary Shelley’s other works and it sounds right up my alley. šŸ™‚

    1. Thank you šŸ˜€ I like to have the choice taken away from me, except if I’m really in the mood for a particular book. The random generator works well for classics, as they always seem like an effort to re-read but are rewarding in the end šŸ™‚ The Last Man is worth reading, although it doesn’t match the standard of Frankenstein.

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