I try to read two books a week. In recent conversation, I casually mentioned this fact to a few friends of mine and they looked at me like I’d grown a third ear—on my eyelid. They said, “I don’t know how you do that.” And I thought to myself, “How can I not do that?”
Look, I’m as busy as the next person, but reading is a priority to me. Often it takes precedence over exercise. Sometimes *gasp* it takes precedence over writing. It’s relaxing, it’s fun, and it’s a gihugic learning experience. Here are just a few of the reasons why I read as much as possible.
1) There are so many good ones (on my bedside table) waiting to be read. (Invincible Summer, Personal Demons, Going Bovine…) And publishers and authors keep putting out new ones. (Lola, Mara, Daughter of Smoke and Bone,…)
And I really want to read them all RIGHT NOW.
But since I can’t *sigh*, I read a little bit here and there.
2) Inspiration. I’m inspired by beautiful writing (The Sky is Everywhere, Before I Fall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth), by phenomenal voice (Hourglass, Maximum Ride), by just super awesome stories (Hunger Games, Divergent) and it makes me want to be a better writer. Sometimes, reading really good stuff rejuvenates me. And I want to open a new doc and write for hours. (and hours and hours and hours and...)
3) Reading reminds me that the business is subjective. That there are “not so great” books out there.
PS - notice I didn't put any pics for this one. Why? Because what doesn't work for me, may work for you. And I like to stay positive while making a point. And...that is all.
4) Research. Not intentional most of the time, but I’ve read so many books in the past year that have helped answer WIP questions – are my paranormal origins sound? Is there a market for my book? Can one of my main characters really get away with that thing I can’t tell you or it would spoil the story? (Perfect Chemistry, Shut Out, Boy Toy, Perfect, Jinx, Teach Me, Save the Cat, Moonglass, Swim the Fly, Before I Fall, The Sky is Everywhere, Ripple,...)
5) Reading EXCEPTIONAL work strengthens my own writing. I want to get more in tune with my senses. With my character’s senses. I strive to be more consistent and concise—in EVERYTHING. I aspire to make every scene move the story forward and to make EVERY WORD COUNT. (Hunger Games, Anna and the French Kiss, I am Number Four, Ripple, Freefall, Divergent, Hourglass...)
6) I learn stuff—about others. About myself. (Thirteen Reasons Why, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Heaven is for Real, Speak, The DUFF, Wintergirls, The Perks of Being a Wallflower...)
7) I really do enjoy reading. It’s NEVER a chore. I love losing myself in a book for several hours. I fall in love with characters. I immerse myself in new worlds. I laugh. I cry. And I especially love when a story sticks with me long after I finished reading. (Hunger Games, Perfect, Beauty Queens, Where She Went, Looking for Alaska, Boy Toy, Room, Before I Fall, The Help, Maximum Ride, Sisterhood Everlasting, Will grayson, Will grayson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Burned...)
So, that's why I read. I'm not always successful with my "two a week," and am often difficult to deal with when I'm deprived of my reading time, but it's been a fairly manageable goal for me. And a most enjoyable one too.
PS - speaking of reading, check out YA Confidential and read what Copil Yanez (our guest blogger) has to say about writing like a guy. Hi-larious.
And how about YOU? Read any good books lately? Do YOU have reading goals? What are some of the reasons YOU read?