Upstairs Downstairs Books

Good news: If you want to be a writer, you need to be a reader. This means you are “forced” to read tons of books all the time!

Bad news: There are more books in the world than you will ever be able to read in your life.

This means you need to get smart and get organised, and getting into this habit can help you to come across some potentially inspiring ideas.

Having a few books on the go at the same time is a good way of getting through more works simultaneously and helps keep the creative juices flowing. To make this seem less daunting (if you don’t already do it), below is a cool way to categorise your reading list:

Upstairs Books and Downstairs Books.

Now, you don’t actually need to have an upstairs in your house to follow this. It’s just a saying. Let me explain…

Upstairs books

The last books we want to read when we’re trying to wind down for the night are complex monsters like James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, or Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Nope. As we wind down for the night, we want to get lost in magical kingdoms, romantic entanglements, thrilling escapades and cosy mysteries. Try Richard Osman, Hillary Mantel, J.R.R Tolkien, even Stephen King (if you can handle the spooky stuff in bed). Upstairs books are for relaxing, letting the book whisk you away to magical places without straining your brain cells too aggressively.

Downstairs Books

Place them at your desk, your coffee table or even on the arm of your sofa – this category of books is for sitting up and paying attention. Downstairs books are those that take some thinking, even note-taking for that matter. Think Carl Jung, Frederik Nietzsche, William Faulkner or even Herman Melville. These novels require a much slower pace and a higher level of concentration to fully appreciate their meaning and nuance. If you’re reading as a research project for your next novel or for a subject you are studying, then including these texts as your downstairs books will be more beneficial because you will get more out of them.

No one category is more important than the other, but what it aims to do is give you two types of novels, clearly defined by where you are in the house, effectively helping you with what to read, rather than you always skipping Dostoyevsky and instead reaching for that latest James Patterson thriller. Wink Wink.

So, get organised and divide your reading pile into upstairs and downstairs. You’ll suddenly feel a lot more structured in your reading and comfortable with jumping from book to book.

What books are on your upstairs and downstairs piles?

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *