To be a good writer, you have to be a reader.
That’s what you hear, right? So you say to your writer self, “You need to read more books.” Then you set reading goals. It suddenly becomes work (ugh).
How many books did you plan to read this year? Did you reach your goal? I did, but I’m not overly excited about it. I planned to read a book a month at a minimum, and that’s what I read. Not actually a book a month, but twelve books over the course of the year. I’m not excited because I used to read twelve books in a single month.
My reading has dropped off in the last couple of years for a variety of reasons:
- My eyes aren’t what they used to be — Yep, I’ve been alive for over half a century. I wear glasses to read, and I get headaches if I read too long. It’s probably because I need a stronger pair of reading glasses, but you know how us old people are: (Cue my old man voice)”These are just fine, thank you very much!”
- I am an Indie author — Much of the time I used to spend reading has been taken over by writer things like social media and critique groups. I actually read a lot more than twelve books this past year if you count up all the critiques for fellow writers. Also, when you deal with the written word regularly, it’s nice to seek your entertainment in other venues which leads to the next reason:
- I suffer from EDEO — I’m Easily Distracted by Entertainment Options. When I was younger, there were only three channels on television (I never counted that UHF channel that always came in fuzzy). Other entertainment options were to listen to the radio or read. No wonder I read so much as a kid. Now there are so many entertainment options to choose from that reading gets lost in the shuffle. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to read a good book, but it’s so much easier to flip to Netflix or play a game on my PS4 (especially after working on the computer all day for work and writing).
Given all this, I decided that twelve books was a good number. What did I read?
- 5 historical fiction novels
- 4 historical fantasy novels
- 1 straight up fantasy novel
- 1 science fiction novel
- 1 nonfiction historical/philosophy text
Yes, historical fiction has been my favorite genre for a few years. It has much in common with the fantasy genre and often the lines are blurred between the two (historical fantasy? I’m sure it’s a genre).
Of all the books I read this year, I would have to say I enjoyed the Gaius Ruso Mystery series by Ruth Downie the most. She is a British author and these books were hard to find for awhile. I read the first three or four books a few years ago and finally found the rest this year (Yes, I finally looked on Amazon for them—my old bookstore habits are hard to break). The series is set in Ancient Rome—mostly in Roman Britannia—and follows the crime-solving exploits of Gaius Ruso, a Medicus in the Roman army. Give them a read if you enjoy a good mystery set in Roman Britannia.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but I do plan to pick up the reading pace in 2018. Of course, I’m planning to publish two books in 2018 as well. We’ll see how it goes.
Happy New Year!