Reading and writing are a form of meditation for me. They help me understand myself and improve my life. As a writer, my reading affects my writing. As a person, my reading affects my sense of self and how I interact with others. However, I’ve noticed that as student life was replaced by a full time job and adulting, I’ve been reading (or listening to audiobooks) without actually reflecting on the material in the books. In an effort to improve my reading habits and by association my writing and myself, here are my reading rules for 2019:
- At least 90% of the books I read must be ones that I already own. The last time I counted, I own over 700 books, but instead of reading those, I frequently raid bookstores and libraries. There are some new books I’ll have to buy (because how can I resist??), but I want to get through the ones I own first.
- Read least one non fiction book per month. Many successful writers often advise novice writers to read more non-fiction for research and to gain a better understanding of a different form of writing. I do read dozens of articles, but want to get back into the habit of reading actual non-fiction books.
- Post at least 1 book review per month. This goes back to the need to reflect and critically think about what we are reading. Writers have a message that they lovingly and painstakingly craft into their work. I want to invest more time and energy into understanding that message. Growing up, my favorite type of school assignment was a book review and as an adult, my favorite topic of conversation is nerding out over a book I just finished. Plus, posting positive book reviews really help authors shine and be noticed for their hard work.
- Read no more than 2 books at a time. I’ve read multiple books at a time for as long as I can remember, but in the last couple of years I’ve been getting too distracted in the way I start and stop books and take forever to finish one. Then I came across this piece of reading advice by Alexander Chee and can’t stop thinking about how my writing quality and progress might improve if I focused on one book at a time.
- At least two short stories from a magazine or journal per month. Why? Because it’s nice to read short form fiction sometimes and very nice to support authors this way.
I created a spreadsheet to track my reading progress and will post book reviews on this blog for as many as I can. I will also be doing the Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge with some friends. Please feel free to comment and interact with my posts and share your own reading goals.
Wish me luck and Happy Reading to you all!