Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reading Woes

Back in April 2008, at the encouragement of Robyn Carr (oh, yeah, lookit me: she's my mentor) I started keeping track of the books I read . Between April 1 and December 28, I read 125 books.

The next year, my spreadsheet got a bit more elaborate (as do all my spreadsheets). In 2009, while working sporadically on my WIP, I read 173 books, 15,632 pages, and averaged 157.9 pages a day.

In 2010, I wrote most of my first draft--and finished it--but still read 138 books, 47,515 pages, and averaged 130.54 pages a day.

Now I'm editing my WIP and this year, so far, I've read 22 books. 7,179 pages. Averaging 85.46 pages a day. My spreadsheet now keeps track of book genres (most books are more than one genre): 12 YA, 13 Fantasy, 10 Urban, 14 Romance, 1 Dystopian (MATCHED), 1 Horror (THE MERIDIANS), 0 Non-Fiction.

Pathetic, yes?

I'm happy with all the other things I'm doing. I am. I'm managing a full-time career (the day-job), trying to start up another full-time career (writing), social networking, blogging, running my online crit group for David Farland's Writer's Groups, critiquing for my group (Meredith, I swear, I'll get your novel crit to you by the end of the month!), holding down two church jobs (teaching Gospel Doctrine and Cub Committee Chair) and being a wife and a mother to three young boys. I sleep 7-8 hours per night (or I get sick). It's a full, busy, and happy life.

But I sure did enjoy this week, when I got too sick to sit at the computer for long periods, and all I could do was lie in bed and read. (Sleep? Who needs sleep?) I MISS reading. I look at Jessica Day George and all she's reading (seriously, that girl is a reading fiend--check her out on Goodreads) and I'm so jealous. I mean, there are hundreds of reasons to be jealous of JDG, but mostly I want to be able to read as much as she does. I'm also jealous of my friend Susan Jensen, who has already read 39 books this year (including mine :))--and that while still writing HER WHOLE FIRST DRAFT.

So, I'm still trying to find balance. Work, writing, family, service, networking, reading, sleep. I watch almost no TV. I hardly ever go anywhere.

Everyday, excellent books are released, and I just DON'T HAVE TIME to read them all. It's tragic.

So how do you do it? How do you decide which books to read? Do you carve out specific time each day for reading, or just grab time as you can find it? How many books have YOU read this year? (Go ahead--rub it it.)

(Also, if anyone wants a great spreadsheet to keep track of their books--with genre--let me know....)


  1. That is the ongoing struggle isn't it? Trying to find balance. If you are able to make it all work please share your secrets. I've quickly realized that as much as I want to do everything and be superwoman I can't.

  2. 10-4, Haley. I plan to figure it all out anyday now, and I'll be sure to post about it then....

  3. You made me laugh with this:

    "being a wife and a mother to three young boys"

    Really? You're a wife to three young boys? ROFL Don't you love what a mess we can make of meaning?

    But seriously, I can't read as fast as you. I tend to read in my head the way I would read out loud--the way I like my audiobooks to sound like. I won't surrender that for numbers, though I'm jealous that you've got that many. I'm going on vacation Thursday, and I'll have more time for leisure reading, but I won't have enough room in my suitcase! I have several downloaded audiobooks I haven't had a chance to listen to yet and even several ebooks. *sigh*

    The old librarian's wail is so true. So many books, so little time.

  4. Yeah, yeah. Harp on the language in my blog, but don't fix it when you quote me on yours. I see how you are.

    Actually, Donna, I don't speed-read. Unless there's a really boring part (like several paragraphs of description): then I force myself to read faster or I'll NEVER get through it. Normally, I won't sacrifice meaning and the EXPERIENCE for speed. My read-ing-silently-to-myself might be a bit faster than my reading-out-loud speed, but not by much.

  5. Impressive amount of reading. I finish a lot of books but currently don't count or track them very well. I would love your spreadsheet, maybe it would inspire me. I usually have one audiobook I listen to during my commute to and from the office and one or two books on my Kindle (I usually have two just because I read a lot before bed and usually have one Thriller/Paranormal book that I don't want in my dreams). Sometimes I have a hardcover book that I haven't read before my Kindle and that is bed-side table reading. It makes for a lot of good reading. What is your favorite book so far this year. Mine is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - suggested by a writing instructor of mine.

  6. Josh--I read The Eyre Affair--very cool book. It's the first book I've read with time-travel elements that was able to follow its own rules. Cause and effect are normally ditched in a time-travel book (or movie--NEVER try to watch all three Back to the Future movies in a row: your brain will explode). Fforde was able to lay out and follow the rules of cause and effect, even when he kept changing the cause. Brilliant.

    My favorite book so far this year is probably ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins. I've read others I've loved, but ANNA kept me up WAY too late on nights I really shouldn't have. You might not love it, but give it to Claudia. :)

  7. I've been keeping track of what books I've read the past three years but I only kept tabs on the genre as of Jan. Like you, I've read 22 books this year which is good for me since I usually average between 50 and 60 a year. My Genre of the Month series is guiding my reading but I still slip in others-- books from my huge YA TBR list, random ones for craft or inspiration e.g. Fight Club because I have a Marla-esque character in the works. I usually read in the evening not on any schedule.
    - Sophia.

  8. Sophia--I never follow reading challenges. I figure I don't need the incentive to read tons, and I don't have time to report back in. :) Plus, what if the genre that month is one I'm just NOT in the mood for?

    Good idea, though, to read books with similar characters to yours.

  9. Like I already told you, I'm actually waaayyy behind in my reading. Oh well. I came to the conclusion long ago that there will never, ever be enough time to read all the books I want to read. I just read what I can, when I can and as fast as I can!

    P.S. I love how my name is one of your labels. I feel so important now :)

  10. Susan, you were always important. Now, all my blog readers know it! :)