Monday, August 29, 2011

Read, Read, Read

Let me first say that we, from the city I hale from, are known to be sarcastic, cynical sons of b…  So that should explain the following ramblings.

At conferences, speakers are always saying, ‘Read, read, read.’ Now, the logic behind this seems to be: the more you read, the better your writing will be; the more you read, the better you will understand the market; the more you read, the easier it will be to communicate to publishers/editors. (Though I understand that by the time your book is published, a full two years might have passed since you signed the contract. Which could mean that it's been four years since you wrote the bloody thing!)

There should be a qualifier to this. Read, read, read good books. For if I’m reading trash, except the occasional one used for a break from serious writing/reading, then I will write trash.

Secondly, a speaker from this past week-end’s event said she sets a goal of reading 100 books per year. For me, that would have to be 100 children’s picture books. I don’t have time to write half the time, never mind read.

Granted, I’ve been reading one heck of a long time. I am beyond the fifty mark on the birth calendar. I believe I’ve been reading voraciously since I was somewhere around ten and started reading a story with a heroine with freckles who hated them. Fell in love with that character. (BTW – anyone have any clue as to what that book was? I’ve got to google freckles and see what I get!) Then went on to a historical story about a Revolutionary soldier. Awesome book. Won a Newbery Medal or something like that. Then onto science fiction where I found my soul.

This all boils down to the cynicism part.

Am I told to read in order to boost book sales? I told you I was cynical.

Enough of that. Suffice it to say that I bought a book at the conference and will read it within the next day or two. I bought a couple books last summer at a fair and read them and then found the author’s previous books and read them.

When I broke my back a few years ago, I read thirteen within three months. Fell in love with an author and, thankfully, he was prolific. I still get every new book he puts out. He usually does so once or twice a year.

Life is full of reading. Good reading.


  1. Pippy Longstocking, maybe?

    I've also been told to read, but it's read what you want to write so you know what's out there, what's selling. For a while, I was reading almost a book a day. I don't have that much time any more, but I do read several a week, still. The bad books are useful for recognizing what you don't want in your own books. I know that for me, it also helped me decide with publishing house I wanted to publish my book, now if only they'll agree with me. :-D

  2. Your heroine with freckles sounds to me like Trixie Belden, the mystery solving teen who had a whole series of books which I devoured as a young person.

    I've not been reading as much as I used to and that's a sad thing. Just today I sat down and read in one sitting one of my childhood favorites that's no longer in print -- but I have a copy! It was such a blessing to read, and it still was magical for me. It's wonderful to be able to reread something like that and still find that it was well-written and awesome.

  3. Was your freckled heroine also quite sensible? When I was nine or ten I bought a used book called "Sensible Kate" from my school library. I seem to recall that she did not like her freckles... I still have the book, actually. I used to LOVE it.

  4. Not Sensible Kate.... and I can't find the one with the ghost either. I was sure that one would be easy to find.