Dice reading

I have previously selected novels and even biographies from my local library, on a random basis. I do this by a somewhat lengthy process of stopping my digital stopwatch and looking for a letter (seconds 1-26) and then go through the laborious process of counting the number of books on the shelves for that letter (or first randomly picking a shelf if it is a letter like ‘S’) and then using my digital watch to randomly select the number of books from the start of the letter. Phew! Actually, it has never taken more than about 5 minutes and it has been fun.

Anyway, I am thinking of taking things a step further and may try it out over the Xmas period. So, I shall probably go and get a few books out from the library tomorrow. I have an idea for creating a totally weird reading experience for myself. I shall explain this using a single dice (although there is no reason why you could not do what I am about to describe by using two dice for each throw)

So, let’s assume you throw a single dice. And say the first throw fell at #4. So, go to p.4 and read it. Then throw the dice again – say it is #2. So, turn to the second page after the page you have just read. In this example, you would then read p.6. Throw again. Say it was #6 – you would turn to p.12 and read that. And so on, and so on, until you get to the end of the book. Let us call this procedure (of going from start to finish) a ‘Dice Book Reading’ to give us the TLA of DBR.

Of course, there will be nothing to stop us going back to the beginning and doing a 2nd DBR. This would presumably expand our knowledge of the book, with some pages being read for a second time, and other new pages being read for the first time because they were missed in the 1st DBR. And when we have finished the 2nd DBR, we could go back and do a 3rd, or 4th, or 5th, or 6th etc. etc.

It occurs to me that this could be a new measure of how good the book was, rather like awarding restaurants or hotels stars. So, one might say of a particular book that it hooked you to the 5-DBR level, whereas another is perhaps cast aside sooner and gains only a 2-DBR rating. I suppose some authors might become adept at writing books that hooked people into high DBR levels, and maybe their skills would be different from those of acclaimed literary stars.

It occurs to me that if one used two dice for determining page sequences, the experience would be even more opaque to begin with. One might need a 10 DBR on double-dice to get to the same level of experiential saturation that would be possible from a 5 DBR with a single dice. In effect one would expect to sample the book roughly half as well with double dice as when doing the sampling with a single dice.

I accept that for some people the aim of reading a book is to get from start to finish as quickly as possible. This is a bit like taking a motorway connection to your destination. However, I quite like the idea of meandering about in the prose. It would perhaps be more like exploring the countryside using the minor roads and maybe only looking at a bit each time. It could be similar to watching a TV series out of synch, and maybe watching some episodes more than once, especially if you have bought the DVD set. And in the case of the TV being on, maybe one does get interruptions from phone calls, people trying to sell you stuff at the door, or if a long episode – an over insistent message from the Bladder Department. I don’t think reading always happens in ideal settings. I sometimes fall asleep when I am reading a novel. I can usually remember what page I was up to. But I kind of ignore the fact that I was half-asleep while my eyes were vaguely wobbling around the previous two pages. Yes, lots to think about.

Well, it remains to be seen whether this experiment will provide me with an experience that is more exciting than Xmas TV. I have a feeling that it might. Speak to you later, my dear blogophiles.

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