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Currently reading

The Vulcan Academy Murders
Jean Lorrah
Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister
Nicholas Shakespeare
Progress: 103/528 pages
The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia, Volume 1: The Socialist Offensive: The Collectivisation of Soviet Agriculture, 1929-1930
Robert William Davies
Progress: 56/512 pages
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages
Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888
John C. G. Röhl
Progress: 229/1016 pages

How do you choose a book?

Last night I was puttering about on Netflix and I came across a show that piqued my curiosity called Tokyo Trials. It's an English-language Japanese series about the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, the often-overshadowed counterpart to the more famous Nuremberg prosecutions of the Nazi war criminals. So far I'd say it's not a great series, or even a good one -- the dialogue is so stilted that the judges' last names might as well be "Exposition" in their native languages -- but it is interesting in that the scenes of the trial use the actual footage from it, with the close-ups of the judges on the bench spliced into it.


Watching it made me realize how little I know about the trial, and reminded me that I have long wanted to read a book about it. For me choosing a nonfiction book on a subject involves a process that involves 1) identifying the corpus on the topic, 2) reading available reviews, focusing on academic ones that fit it into the overall literature on the subject, and 3) identifying which one of the available books would best satisfy my interest. I'm doing that now, and I should have a title picked out by the end of the day,  but it did leave me wondering: how do you identify what book you want to read on a subject? Here I'm thinking not so much how you decide what it is you want to read, but how you decide which book to read after you make that decision. Are your processes similar, or do you make your decisions in different ways, and, if so, what are they?