I´m totally reading to improve my writing – or why I read 72 YA books this year

Today is Road Trip Wednesday :-) RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: About how many books do you read in a year?

Do you want to read more? Or, less?

So far, I´ve read about 72 YA (and NA) books this year (about 86 books in total). Yes. 72. And the year is not over.  That seems like a lot. I see my husband rolling his eyes at the number. But…I spend a lot of time in commuting, and I´m a fast reader. You combine the two and you get a whole lot of books in a year. My commute is for both reading and writing, and when I´m deep into a draft, there will be less reading.

The YA books I've read so far in 2012

The YA books I’ve read so far in 2012

I don´t set a number per year, I don’t have a goal of books I feel like I need to be reading. But, since I’ve become serious about my writing, I also believe that reading a lot does improve my writing. After all, even Stephen King explained: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” It also helps me to know what’s already out there, what works for me, try to touch the elusive point on the reasons why  I get lost in a book. That magical moment when it’s simply you and the story. It always leaves me in awe at the way a writer was able to create that chemistry through words.

A lot of times, I also simply enjoy reading for reading. You know getting the butterflies when a book pulls you in and doesn’t let go. It helps me de-stress, it makes me smile, and yes even when it makes me tear up, I welcome all the feelings.  I even have some books, I will re-read because I know they will lift me up.

I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of books.

Sorry hubby, the shelves will continue to overflow.

So, tell me: do you set yourself a “reading goal” per year?

16 Comments on “I´m totally reading to improve my writing – or why I read 72 YA books this year

  1. Wow 86 books! I wish I could read that much. I remember when I lived in Paris I had an hour and a half commute to go to my French class and during that time I read a lot of books. But that was years ago. Seems like trains are extremely conducive to reading. :)

  2. So many books! Like you, I read to improve my craft but mostly because I love it. Few things make me as happy as an hour with a good book.
    PS: How did you make that cool graphic of the covers you’ve read?

    • Ohhhh an hour with a good book is priceless :D :D :D Ive been known to sneak in reading time in all possible places if Im deep into a story… So to make the graphic I went to the widget of goodreads (My books, tools, widget), its the grid widget, then I chose the shelf I wanted, and the number of books. Then since WordPress doesnt accept this code, I took a screenshot, cut it and saved it as a picture :D Let me know if you need help!

      On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 5:32 PM, commutinggirl

  3. I *almost* miss my commute for this reason. I’ve definitely slowed down since then! I’m also starting to steer my reading toward books that have things in common with mine, and I think next year I will start going back and re-reading things I really loved so I can study things like pacing (!) and tension. My goal this year has started to make me a little nuts, so I will definitely set a lower one for 2013. I do like that it motivated me to carve extra reading time out of the day, though, so I think I’ll set at least a baseline goal for next year.

  4. I’ve noticed that trying to read more YA books this year has really helped me understand the market even more – what people like, what there’s too much of etc. I’m impressed with your total! Congrats! =D

  5. Wow, congrats on reading so many books this year! I made it my goal to read 52 and I’m still finishing up. I agree – I’m learning so much about writing from reading so much and I will keep doing it next year, and the next year… :)

  6. I don’t necessarily set a target for the number of books I want to read, though I do concur with Mr. King that a good writer will be a healthy reader. So the number of books I read each year should be a decent number. I don’t want to read because I ought to, though. Reading must always be a pleasurable (and educational) activity. But it’s like athletics. A good athlete will have to train a certain amount just to stay fit. To be good, he will have to train harder than most. But if he loves athletics, he doesn’t have to be told to train. :)

  7. I don’t know how many books I read but I also review books as well. So I learn from who I read. Currently I have three books I am reading. I am going to check how many books I have read this year and will do my own post and let you know. Although I am not a young adult writer I do like to read your novels as well. Have a merry xmas.

  8. I love that Stephen King quote! That kind of lit my fire to read more books too. I’ve always loved reading, but I hadn’t made as much committment to it until a few years ago. I like how King suggests it’s OK to ignore friends and coworkers for the company of a good book. I actually do this–I’ll have lunch with coworkers once or twice a week, and the other days I read and eat lunch alone. I agree, reading helps greatly improve writing if you’re looking for that. I have certain books I read to know the YA market, and others I simply just want to read.

    I love that graphic with all the books together! I’ll have to try that out if it’s something from Goodreads.

  9. I’m rarely without something to read. And now with the Kindle, I can carry a ridiculous amount of them with me at any given time. I’m with you on reading for writing development, Stephen King’s advice is spot-on.

  10. This year was the first time I set a reading goal of one book a week and I managed to accomplish it by October thank goodness as I have completed only one book since then (lets not mention the book I’m 400 pages into and have set aside for now), being super busy this quarter.

    I totally agree with SK, that reading enhances our writing and it’s a small comfort to be able to read when one can’t manage the time to write. Although ironically in this busy time of not reading (due to late nights working and eyes can’t stay open) I have been doing a little more writing of short pieces and even sent three stories out I re-edited this month. That certainly made me feel better. Which reminds me, do you subscribe to Mslexia magazine
    Mslexia magazine? That and/or the writer’s diary are both something your husband might like to know about before Christmas (wink, wink).

  11. I love all the feelings books can give me. It’s like therapy. 72 is a great number! I’m like you, I don’t set reading goals, I just read and see where it goes.

  12. You make me wish I could commute so I’d have time to read all the books on my shelf that I haven’t cracked open, yet. Happy reading! :)

  13. Pingback: Emma Maree Reviews | A Scottish YA writer reviews awesome books

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