In January I decided that I wanted to read a book a week. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing. After all, I live to read. I can knock a book out fairly quickly. And what author won’t improve their craft by reading, says I? So 52 books in a year it was.
Well, December is here and my book count is at 36. 36! I’m pretty unimpressed with my progress, quite honestly. I expected more out of myself.
But at the same time, I was baffled! I feel like I’m reading all of the time. Every day I say, “Shh, sweetheart, Mommy’s reading” at least twice. So where’s the disconnect? What is going on?
I finally figured it out. I’m reading slush, and while I don’t get to it every day (and sometimes I’m embarrassingly behind) I spend quite a bit of time on it. I read the newspaper every day, skipping nothing but the sports and the obituaries. I read blogs, although I’m horribly behind on that as well. I read an insane amount of medical information: about my son’s diagnosis, ways to lessen his pain, lessen his anxiety, increase his sleep, increase his learning. I’m constantly reading enormous booklets that his speech therapist sends home. I’m reading medical information regarding my daughter’s seizures. I’m reading to make sure that her medicines don’t interact, that I’m not doing something to induce seizures, that we’re avoiding her triggers. I’m researching things online for my stories. I’m looking stuff up for my freelance gig. I read the lesson that I prepare each Sunday for my class. I’m reading chapters out of my writing groups’ novels every week, and I’m usually beta reading for at least one or two other people beside that.
I read several children’s stories every day to the kidlets, but I don’t count them toward my books read. I read every single thing that is posted on the Shock Totem forum, but of course that doesn’t count, either. I’m reading email. I’m reading story outlines. I’m reading queries and synopses and other things that come my way, because we all know how helpful it is to have another set of eyes going over our work.
So I’m constantly reading, but I’m not reading published manuscripts. I still haven’t read The Hunger Games. I still haven’t read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which I have been dying to open ever since I heard of it. I want to read more, but I’m not sure what else I can drop in order to fit it in. I’d try books on tape while driving to therapy with the kidlets (hey, that would be an extra four hours a week!) but we have a certain CD that we listen to and if I switch it up, my son will fall apart. Any ideas? Suggestions? What are you reading, and how do you find the time to do it?