Unlike many of my friends, I am not a fast reader. I like to linger over sentences. I don’t like to rush through a book. Back before I was a writer, it was not unheard of for me to spend a entire Saturday, lying on the couch, reading a paperback novel from beginning to end. When I was much younger, I even read clear through the night a few times, finishing a book about 6:00 AM. (Too old for that now!)
Anybody who is serious about being a novelist must be serious about being a reader first. Which is why I decided this year to take the Goodreads Reading Challenge (scroll down the page to see my challenge) so I would be better at keeping track of the books I read. I set myself a moderate goal of 30 books for the year. I’ve finished 28 so far (not counting reading my own novels at the page proof stage), so it looks like I will exceed my goal for 2013.
I usually have an audiobook going in the car plus one novel and one non-fiction (usually Christian living) in print/on my Kindle.
Speaking as a reader, I have come to really appreciate Goodreads. I like being able to see the books I’ve read (I’ve listed 743 as read so far). A lifetime of books and an amazing number of them books that I’ve loved! I don’t always rate a book on Goodreads (especially from years ago), and I rarely leave a review. That’s just me.
One caveat for writers: If you are easily depressed by negative reviews of your own books, don’t go looking to see what readers are saying about them. Among any positive comments, there is bound to be one that will feel like a kick in the gut. Know yourself and act accordingly.
Do you keep track of the books you read each year? How many do you usually read? Are you participating in the Reading Challenge? If so, I’d love to know how you’re doing?