In his book ‘On Writing,’ Stephen King casually drops in that he reads 70-80 books a year. I feel like I’ve maybe read that many books in the last twenty years, but who’s counting? I broke it down, and it’s actually not that bad. 70-80/year means roughly 6-7 books/month, which is roughly 1 ½ - 2 books/week. I suppose for someone who has grown kids and who writes for a living, that’s not a huge amount of time to spend reading.
I decided back in September that I would try to read half of what Stephen King reads, just to see if I could do it. Can I read 35-40 books in a year? That’s 3-4 books/month or a book a week.
It helps that we don’t have cable. (though doesn’t particularly help that Downton Abbey is back or that we just found Transparent.) Still, I’m going to try to make reading a priority when the kids go to bed.
I also decided that to vary my reading, of the three books/month, one would be fiction, one would be memoir (since that is what I’m interested in writing), and one would be a book on writing. So far, that has been a good strategy to keep me going.
In case anyone is interested, it’s looked like this:
- A visit from the goon squad – Jennifer Egan
- Full Grown People: Soulmate 101 – Jennifer Neilssen
- On Writing – Stephen King
- The Rosie Project – Graeme Simision
- Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
- Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
- The Patron Saint of Liars – Ann Patchett
- Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
- Still Writing – Dani Shapiro
(Fiction got left in the dust this month)
- Buddhism for Mothers – Sarah Napthali
- A House of my Own – Sandra Cisneros (almost finished)
- Writing about your Life – William Zinsser
- Writer Mama - Christina Katz
If anyone has any recommendations – I’d love to hear them!