It’s no secret that in the last few years I’ve become an avid reader, which got me thinking about my reading habits, and the evolution of how I got here.
Confession: I didn’t always read like this. While I’ve always enjoyed a few books during the year, interspersed between thing I needed to be reading for school or work, I didn’t always finish them and didn’t really think about them much afterwords. I would say I was a pretty typical reader, busy and wanting an escape only when I could find the time. The books I read tended to be very fast paced, thrillers mostly, because that’s all that would keep my attention.
When I started writing seriously, I read Stephen King’s famous book “On Writing” and learned that one of the best ways to become a talented writer was to read. A lot. So, I decided to expand the genres. About the same time, I joined a book club created by the amazing Kelly Dearth (the Delicious Reads Book Club) which stretched me into books I may not have picked up, some young adult books for example. After years of participating in this book club, I’m so glad I’ve given all sorts of books a chance. I also signed up for Goodreads and started reviewing books I read as a form of writing study- what worked for me, what I wanted more of, and what I loved.
Tip- How to Choose What Books to Read I scour book reviews on multiple sites before purchasing. I have a limited amount of time to devote and I want my experience to be meaningful. Goodreads and Barnes and Noble, and Amazon are good places to start. If you’re looking for a referral I can do my best to point you in the right direction. Once nice thing about Goodreads is that it lets you compare your books to those of your friends. I’ve been able to identify people who seem to have the same taste in books as me and get ideas off of their lists.
Tip- If You’re Not Loving a Book… Put it down! I’m not one of those people who have to finish a book. I try to give a book at least 50 pages to get going, but ultimately, I want to love reading… so I don’t feel bad about abandoning a book if I’m not into it. It’s freeing in a way. Try it- just read books you love! I bet it will enhance your reading experience.
Trick- Make it Convenient At any given time I have an audiobook on my iPhone, a book on my Nook and a Book-book (yeah, that’s what we call bound books these days to differentiate it from all the e-readers). This makes it easy to grab one when I have some down time or listen while I’m driving, working out or doing stuff around the house. If you’re going on a trip, make sure you have a few to choose from.
Trick- Go with your moods! I like to read different kinds of book depending on my mood, what I’ve read lately and even the season. I can only handle so many WWII books, can’t stomach ongoing young adult angst, don’t want to read a beachy book in the dead of winter. Sometimes I just want something some romance or something light and funny!
My overall theme of what I look for in a book is EMOTION, which I’ve mentioned several times on this blog. I don’t care if you make me laugh or cry or get angry, but at the end of the book I want to have felt something or have been moved in some way. My tastes have changed over the years, and now I enjoy books with complex characters who are dragged through heartache and forced to make impactful decisions. I love depth. I love twists and things I didn’t see coming. Give me a character to root for and then make me question everything. I’ve learned so much about life, about relationships and places I’ve never been through the pages of book. Reading has enriched my life in countless ways.
Hopefully sharing my evolution from light and sporadic reader to bookaholic will inspire you to pick up another book.