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!