I just joined a group on Goodreads called 50 Books a Year, and I’m excited about the challenge. I got going late for 2010, so my comparable goal is to read a book a week for the rest of the year. For most people, I’m sure that sounds easy.I used to read that much fiction all the time. My son’s first sentence was “Book down, Mom.”
Then I started writing novels and something had to give. Read more →
My husband and I have decided to give up cable TV. This is a small deal for me, because I watch very little—daily pre-recorded Jon Stewart shows and Bill Maher on Fridays. It’s a bigger deal for Steve, but he found an article online about how to get a bunch of TV shows through his computer and we’re expanding our Netflix subscription. He seems excited to make the change. The motivation? I got tired of writing that $162 check every month for 20 minutes of daily entertainment. I told him we could spend the savings anyway he wanted. (I suspect we’ll end up with motorcycle accessories.)
The bigger benefit though is that we both plan to do more reading. I was so excited by this possibility that I ordered a stack of books from Powels. Here’s what’s in my to be read pile:
A Nail Through the Heart, by Timothy Halinan
Kidnapped, by Jan Burke
Money Shot, by Christa Faust
Invisible Prey, by John Sanford
Safe and Sound, by J.D. Rhoades
The Black Path, by Asa Larsson
Lost Dog, by Bill Cameron
Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse, by Victor Gischler (Steve plans to start with this one)
Any bets on how long Steve lasts without cable?
As I opened my e-mail this morning and read through the new mystery list-serv postings, the theme was “July Reads.” At first I thought, I could post about this. Then I realized it wouldn’t be much of an offering. I didn’t actually finish a single book last month. I started several but lost interest and put them down. (More about that phenomenon tomorrow.) But I don’t lack for novels to read. I have a huge TBR pile.
For me, the worst thing about being a novelist is the lack of time to read novels! Before I started writing novels, I read at least one or two books a week. Now I feel lucky if I can read 10 novels a year. And it kills me. Especially when I meet other mystery/crime authors. I’d love to be able to say, “I read your new novel and I loved it.” But most of the time, I haven’t read any of their work.
I don’t know how to get around this. I’ve given up what little TV that I used to watch and that has helped some. But still, working as an editor, writing new novels, promoting my published novel, online networking, and spending time with family uses up almost every minute of every day. And the only one of those activities that I’d give up voluntarily is my editing job. (But then I’d end up homeless.) So not having enough fiction reading time is a painful sacrifice I have to make, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
As a novelist, I read fiction differently now too. The author’s choices (POV, pacing, foreshadowing, syntax) are always present. It’s much harder to simply be absorbed into a story and transported away for hours the way I used to. Sometimes I think that being an avid reader (back in the day) was more fun than being a novelist. But there’s no going back. I am a storyteller now; it defines me.