So far this year, I’ve read 94 books (no idea if that’s a lot—many people read lots more a year), 28 of which happened in the last month and a half. I’m in the middle of three more right now.
I always think I like one particular genre, but based on my selections, that’s not really true. I read nonfiction—inspirational, motivational, memoir, and religious. Fiction reads vary from middle grade to contemporary romance, women’s fiction to paranormal, thriller/suspense to contemporary and fantasy young adult.
Some of these I’ve read for reviews, some just because, and some for research. Some of the books are hardcopies, some are eBooks, and many of them have been audio books (because I can get dishes done, fold laundry, clean the kitchen, and grocery shop all while listening to a fab book—and indulging my introverted parts of me by being completely antisocial).
I read when I need an escape from anxiety, stress, or too much life things. I also read when I’m stuck in my current writing project or when I need to find inspiration to keep the words flowing.
Currently, I have a women’s fiction I’m in the midst of drafting, an inspirational/self-help nonfiction in the middle of another revise and resubmit, and two children’s books percolating—soon to be tackled. Shifting gears from fiction to nonfiction to fiction is tricky when writing, but that’s apparently exactly how I read books. So perhaps it’s my own fault I can’t decide what to write.
Things I’ve noticed while reading all these books:
- Every book has a unique voice—fiction or nonfiction.
- Some stories I enjoy more than others, despite how well-written they may be.
- I click better with some styles better than others.
- In some stories, the characters are so distinct I can tell who is saying what without reading the dialogue tag, while others the characters are more interchangeable.
- Despite how well an author describes settings or characters, I’m going to picture it all however I want to. My brain is rebellious like that.
- I tend to enjoy books that have a deeper meaning or purpose in them. Or books where there is some form of healing.
- After reading lots of heavier books (or dealing with harder life things), I really need something more fun and light, with no darker plots.
- No form of writing is better or worse than another. They’re all needed.
I’m hoping all this reading is leaking into my psyche, filling my consciousness with good ways to structure plots and craft characters and ultimately create what I have envisioned. I’m hoping I can somehow glean lessons from far more seasoned writers than myself.
Some days I doubt that I’ll ever be able to write something as masterful as so many of the books I’ve read, but I’m only meant to write like me. So I keep reading, increasing this literary fountain of others’ experiences to draw from when my creativity runs low.
I read for many different reasons: to escape, to learn, to be entertained, to study, to grow, to understand, and to experience.
Why do you read? What drives you to pick up book after book?
Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 500 articles—family-oriented articles on familyshare.com and book reviews. She recently started a website for something she is passionate about–helping victims of sexual abuse find hope and healing. Wendy is the mother of 6 spirited children ranging in age from 5 to 15. In the throes of writing a few books (fiction and nonfiction), she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading, loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.