March 30, 2011

While some writers say they haven’t read a book in years, most writers I know are voracious readers. But, of course, the time spent reading takes away from your writing time and vice versa.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, but since I started writing every day, my reading time has declined. Most nonfiction I read nowadays is research for my next novel or book on writing.

And when it comes to reading fiction, those numbers have declined a bit. In 2010, I read a total of 79 novels. Still not bad, but it was more in the past.

I do most of my fiction reading when I’m not working on a book of my own, so now that I’m working on True Nature, I read very little. My to-be-read stacks are starting to look like skyscrapers, and e-books are queuing up on my e-reader.

How about you? How many books a year do you read? Does it depend on whether you’re working on your own novel or not?



  1. I find it fascinating, that you count how much you read. But I’m also amazed, that you count how much you write. I usually don’t take count for myself.

    Anyway, I read about 1 till 3 books (and maybe the same amount of short stories) a week. That is, if I don’t write intensive on something. After a 12 or 14 hour writing day I’m usually not in the mood to read. But if I just write 1 or 2 hours a day, I like very much to read as well on that day.
    When I say ‘writing’ of course I mean the initial writing cause the post editing (which also takes then about 1 till 3 hours a day) is not really a distraction.
    Reading provides me in this case a good balance to something I’m not really fond of. But let’s face it: who likes the post editing? 😀

    If I’m not writing or post editing at all (which is very seldom) I read almost every free minute.

    • I started keeping count of how many novels I read when I participated in the 50-book challenge. And I started taking notes on what I liked in a story or what jarred me out of the fictional dream.

      Wow, a 12-to-14-hour writing day is impressive!

      > But let’s face it: who likes the post editing?

      Um… I do, actually 🙂

  2. Oh, by the way: In my initial post, I wrote that I read 79 books in 2011. I wish. I meant 2010.

    In order to read 79 books in 3 months, I would have to give up working or writing… possibly both 🙂

  3. I read 141 books/stories in 2010 – 41 of them were lesfic. Not too bad, eh 😉
    I usually read on the way to work (train) or before I go to sleep. So, reading doesn’t take time away from writing. Now here is a question for you: did you finish all the books you read last year?
    Cause I didn’t.

    • 141 books is great!

      My time on the train is writing time, not reading time. I actually get a lot of my writing done on the train because there are no distractions.

      No, I didn’t finish every book I started to read, but I didn’t count these in my book-challenge statistics. In the past, I tried to finish every book I started, even if I had to force myself to do it, but now I think time is too precious to do that.

  4. I have to say that I read a lot – OK more than a lot! I think it was in the year 2010 about 350 stories, including short stories. Maybe this is a little bit extreme – but I love reading :). I always try to motivate my friends to read and I gave one of my favorite book to my best friend – but until now she didn’t read it!

    • 350? Wow. That’s almost a book or story per day! We need more readers like that! 🙂

  5. Ah… I have a pile of books that even rivals yours, as impressive as it is. 😉 The main reason is because I don’t read while I am actively working on a book. Since LA Metro took so long to complete, my to-read book shelf is overflowing. Now that LA Metro is finished, I’ve started wading through the pile. I’ve read 6 books in the last two weeks. And that has not even made a little dent in the pile.

    • So is there any book that you would recommend so far?

      • I’m a big fan of Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme’s books. I really enjoyed “The Burning Wire.” Not only was it a good thriller but really made you think about how complacent you can become about the things around you. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say after reading the book for about a week I hesitated every time I flipped a light switch or plugged somthing into a wall socket.

    • Oh, and congrats again for finishing LA Metro!

      • Thank you. It felt great to finally finish it.

        And I’ve been remiss. Congratulation on the recent awards that several of your novels have received. They are well deserved.

  6. Thanks, RJ.

    I think I have one or two of Jeffery Deaver’s books in my skyscraper pile too.

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