Twenty years ago, in 1996, I started keeping track of how many and which books I’d read. It was the year my first novel was published, and I had quite an impressive list of books I’d read—55 books over the course of twelve months. In 1997 I was working on writing my second and third novels, but I still managed to read forty books, recording each one in a pretty spiral journal. In the years between 1996 and 2000, I averaged reading 45 books each year—and writing one of my own.
During the following four years, my average dropped to a still-respectable 26 books a year. But from that point, and for the next ten years (2005-2014) my average plummeted to less than 14 books per year! Barely a book a month. I’m honestly not even sure what happened. It certainly wasn’t that I lost my love for reading.
Maybe it was that we bought our first home in 2005, and with it came a new hobby of gardening, along with all the other responsibilities of homeownership. We also became grandparents for the first time that year. Our grandkids all live hours away from us, so to see them, we travel. I began teaching at more and more writers conferences that same year. So I suppose that “perfect storm” of unrelated events understandably cut into my reading time. Along with the fact that being a writer came with ever more responsibility to my publisher to self-promote.
Last year I made a New Years resolution that I was going to make time and effort to read more books. It’s something I’m passionate about, something I feel is worth my time and energy, and something I feel a good writer must do to continue to improve her craft and keep up with the industry.
The year is half over and I’m happy to report that I already have 13 books on my list for 2015. (Granted, a few of the books were read because I edited them, or endorsed them, but hey, I still read them!) If I keep up this pace, I just might hit the 30 books I’ve challenged myself to read. I’d love to be able to tally even more come December 31. But my resolution is off to a great start. Now, if I could only lose that 10 (okay, 20!) pounds that have been at the top of my New Years resolution list for the past 20 years!
P.S. If you click on the photos, you’ll get a large version so you can see the titles on my lists and read the book spines on my nightstand. Heh heh… I know I’m always curious about those spines in other authors’ posts!
Do you keep track of the books you read? How? What are your reading goals for the coming year? What’s waiting at the top of your to-be-read pile right now?