‘Ip, Dip, Doo…’ or the Art of Choosing What to Read Next.

In our house, we have a well-observed ritual for book selection. It started when the children were little, but it’s become a bit of a fixture. After finishing a book, I’d go and pick a random but varied selection of fresh titles for them to choose from. I’d read aloud from the back cover and the first paragraph, then we’d flick through to see if, and how many pictures each contained.

Each book in turn would be placed into one of three piles: Yes, No and Maybe. At the end of this round, they could pick one book to be saved from the Maybes, and put into the Yes pile. Then, with the shortlist placed in a row on the floor, the rhyme ‘Ip, Dip, Doo…’ would be implemented, until one by one, all the books would be eliminated until only one remained, the final selection, the chosen one.

Admittedly, this sometimes had to be redone so that the book that was secretly wanted all along could miraculously win, but we always had to go through the process anyway or face outrage from the children. I no longer choose the longlists – they pick their own unless asked, and we don’t check for pictures, but the rest of the process remains intact. We all tend to rally round to watch the proceedings – sad it might be, but as we only got a telly at Christmas, it’s understandable.

No doubt there are easier ways to pick a book, sometimes you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of a book after reading the reviews, or getting hold of the latest work by a favourite author, or maybe your book group has made the choice for you, but when in doubt, I always turn to my tried and tested method, and it hasn’t failed me yet!

choosing books