Monday, 25 July 2011

A Reading Game

Inspired by the Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel, Sally decided to create a game she calls Reader’s Roulette. Here are her instructions.

The letters of the alphabet are divided into 6 groups, one for each side of a regular die. Oh, did I forget to mention you’d need one of those? Well, you do. You'll also need a library, but I know you'll have one of those lying around somewhere.

1 - A G M S Y
2 - B H N T Z
3 - C I O U
4 - D J P V
5 - E K Q W
6 - F L R X

Roll the die once. Say you roll a 2. This tells you that your author’s name will start with a B, H, N, T or Z. Roll the die again. If you roll a 1, your author’s name will start with the first letter in that group. If you roll a 2, it will start with the second. 3, it starts with third, and so on. If your roll is higher than the number of letters in the group, roll again until you get a useful number. For the purposes of this explanation, let’s just say you rolled a 4. So your author’s name will start with T.

Now roll your die twice more. Put the two numbers together to get a two-digit number. For example, a roll of 3 followed by a roll of 1 gives you the number 31.

You (hypothetically) have the letter T and the number 31.

Armed with these two pieces of information, go to the fiction shelves of your library. Find the part where the authors’ surnames start with T. There’ll probably be a big T somewhere around there to help you out. Librarians are good like that. Starting at the beginning of that section, count out 31 books. This is the book you’re going to read. Now, it’s no good complaining that you don’t read mystery/fantasy/romance/badly-written-trash. You committed yourself to reading this book when you rolled that die. This is Reader’s Roulette, my friend. Anything can happen. And who knows? You might surprise yourself and find a new favourite author. At the very least you’ll have tried something new.

Go on, read dangerously.

And in terms of the book that inspired this game, here is the description from our catalogue "Experimental Travel is not about checking off the major sights or following your guidebook to the letter; it's a playful way of travelling, where the journey's methodology is clear but the destination is usually unknown. Experimental Travel renders all destinations equal - be it a burger shack or the Taj Mahal. The book contains a series of travel games or 'invitations'. Do you yearn for the glories of yesteryear? Pack an octogenarian guidebook and replace the subway with a penny farthing for an Anachronistic Adventure. Do you like to gamble? Taste the real thrill of adventure with Trip Poker or Monopoly Travel. Are you desperate for a holiday but strapped for cash? To undertake Budget Tourism low funds are not an obstacle but a prerequisite. In all cases you are free to improvise as you wish." So you can see just how the book got Sally thinking.

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