Ever since the Game of Reading began, 10 months ago tomorrow, I've been a little unclear on whether or not I am allowed to abandon books. It's a tricky point, because if I can just abandon books willy-nilly, it defeats the whole purpose (?) of having a mechanistic book-selection system in the first place! On the other hand, I don't think I ever really intended to put myself in a position where I could never again (or even for as long as the game lasts, which is starting to look like it will be quite a while) give up on a book halfway.
Surprisingly, the issue hasn't come up in all this time. But it is bound to eventually, and one must be prepared. So here, in all its proactive splendor, is the Game of Reading 1.01 Rules Patch, in which the parameters for allowable book abandonment are lain down!!
Game of Reading 1.01 Rules Patch
[Thanks to Morgan for his key contribution to the general approach of this rules patch. Responsibility for any ridiculousness in the details, and in the overall concept, are entirely my own.]
1. Books may be abandoned, but no more than one in any two consecutive calendar months.
2. If a book is abandoned, the card that was played to begin reading it is drawn back into the hand.
a. Clarification: since this will ordinarily result in an eleven-card hand, I may not then "draw back up to ten" after the next card is played.3. The exception to Rule 2 is "Unrestricted" cards. If an "Unrestricted" card was used to begin reading a book, and that book is abandoned, the "Unrestricted" card remains discarded and may not be retrieved.
b. If the abandoned book is a specific title, that card must remain in the hand until either (i) I play the card and try reading the book again, or until (ii) it is discarded through the action of another card.
c. If the abandoned book is one that has been assigned via an "Ask" card, I may ask the person if they are willing to suggest an alternative title. However, I must also inform them that the rules of the game entitle them to refuse to do so. [cf. Miranda v. Arizona]
d. For all other cards, the card for the abandoned book may be played again to initiate the reading of a new book. Example: I abandon Zane Grey's Thirty Thousand on the Hoof, and retrieve the "Western" card into my hand. I may then replay the "Western" card to read Louis L'Amour's Showdown at Yellow Butte. At least one other card must be played, however, between the abandonment and the replaying of the retrieved card.
e. Clarification: Rule 2d also applies to "Try again on a book that you have previously abandoned" cards.
What's the State of Play?
I'm currently listening to something called Daughter of Smoke & Bone, for which I played a "Young Adult" genre card, and eye-reading Roberto Bolaño's sprawling 2666, for which I played a "From the Spanish" card.
The cards I'm holding are strong for written material and weak for audio material, which is a bit of a pain as I'm finishing up Daughter and will be chewing on 2666 for quite some time to come. I've got an "Unrestricted" card in hand, though, and might have to burn in on the longest audiobook I can come up with -- a nice thick Trollope novel, maybe? -- in hopes of letting some turnover shuffle some easier listening into the mix. Or, I might just go ahead and re-listen to Tony Judt's Postwar, which would serve the same purpose and spare the unrestricted card. Yes, that's what I should do.
And of course...
What do you have on your to-read list?