Friday, January 1, 2016

52 Books

Thanks to a cute feature of I found out that I’d read 53 books during this past year. Incredible! I had no idea I would ever, ever come close to reading that many books in a year. Very nice for them to point it out to me, since reading is so vitally important for an author.

Being in 2 Davenport Library book clubs was a great help that got me almost half way there. The rest came from picking books off the library shelves, buying from local writers, and receiving a few loans and gifts.

Of course the total doesn’t count the short stories from Shorts & Sweets, another Davenport Library group. It also doesn’t include reading other writer’s manuscripts. (I did that twice.)

I tried to do all this reading as thoughtfully as I could. I made a point to notice POV and verb tense first. Then I paid attention to how the dialog was presented. I made myself notice any unfamiliar grammar and punctuation usage. Voice and descriptions, too. All in an effort to make up for not paying attention to those things when I was in school.

I’m playing catch up here, but I’ve met people who can read a book a day. I’ve only had a couple of times when I had reading jags that might have come close to that level of total immersion.  

As I recall, I had my first spell of binge reading as a kid, age 10 or so. I had been given a stack of old magazines and Reader’s Digests by a neighbor. He was probably clearing out his garage, but I reveled in the magic of having more reading material than at any other time of my young little life.

I had another spell of binge reading during one summer when I was a teenager without enough to do. I read all the James Bond novels in our small town library. (Quite the racy thing for me at the time.)

Somewhere in that time period, I discovered science fiction by way of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. I stayed with that for awhile.

Fortunately, I was a high school senior by the time I came across In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The most disturbing thing I’d read so far.

Sadly, somewhere after college I fell out of the habit of reading books for pleasure. I would read to learn skills for jewelry making or whatever craft I was interested in at the moment—that was about it for a long time.

Then I decided I wanted to write my novel.

So—I had to pick up those old skills again, give them a good polish, and learn some new ones.

Reading 52 books in the past year was an important accomplishment for me and gives me a ready-made resolution for the upcoming New Year. 

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