Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Don't Read (a post I wrote almost a year ago)

(So I wrote this post months ago. And then I decided it was sad and embarrassing and I didn't want to post it until I could say it wasn't true anymore. It isn't. And this is the part where I'd point you to my Goodreads page to show you all the books I've read, but I somehow managed to mass delete a lot of my ratings? (Because I'm so smart and good at computers.) So while I go and try to remember everything I've read for the last few months, enjoy this post that is now full of lies!)

(Oh, and if you were wondering, I was successful at my "write a page every time I'm on the computer in November" challenge. And I think the pressure gave me some interesting plot twists. Congratulations to everyone who did actual Nanowrimo.)


I don't read.

I'm not proud of this. In fact I'm a little ashamed to admit it. But I very rarely read fiction.

I used to. I started reading as soon as I could hold a book, and by the age of six or seven I was correcting adults on their pronunciation of words that were bigger than I was. By the time I was 13, I'd read almost every book in my age range the library had to offer, and after that I read some funny murder mysteries with my mom and competed to see who could solve it first.

I don't know what changed. A lot of things I guess. I got busier, my ADHD got worse, depression kicked in. All I know is all of a sudden I'm 26 and I can't remember the last time I held an actual book. I've read a little Shakespeare and HG Wells online, a paragraph here or there between emails, but I don't lose hours engrossed in pages like I used to.

I don't even go inside the library anymore. I use their website to borrow movies, and I stay in the van while my mom goes in. And I feel bad for that. Shouldn't a writer read?

One day a few months ago, when the library was closed, I went downstairs with my mom to help her find a book in our building's community room. I found a bright yellow book with a cat on the cover. It looked like a mystery with cats, one of my mother's favorite genres, and I pointed it out. She read the inside cover, said, "Talking space cats. You want it?"

I did want it. It was Catacombs, by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. I think I read it (and Catalyst, the other book in the series) in about a day. And then I didn't read again until this week.

I'm trying to find time for it, because I love it so much, but I think the sheer volume of possible books intimidates me. I don't know which ones to read, so I don't read any. I'm starting with the winners and nominees of the Hugo award. It's a limited amount, I know they're my favorite genres, and... and a writer ought to read, shouldn't they?


  1. My reading confession is that I've spent far too many weeks (yes, weeks!) reading Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is a novella and therefore very short. I don't think I'm even halfway through yet!

    It's good to know writing that post spurred you to read more. Good luck repopulating your Goodreads list :-)

    1. Isn't it funny how the shortest books can take the longest time to read?

  2. I think most adults would likely say this, sadly. It's so hard to squeeze in time. When I worked in an office, I actually used Audible to get my reading in on the way to and from work. Now I make myself set time aside to read every day. I also listen to audiobooks while I'm driving around and walking at the gym. I'm glad you were finally able to pull reading back into your life!

    1. I can't focus long enough to listen to audiobooks. At least with printed books, the words are right there waiting for me when my brain gets back from la-la land. :)

  3. It's a phase. I, too, had a period of time where I didn't read. You get busy. You know you "should" read, but there are other things that demand your attention. And it's okay.

    I had this discussion with someone else not too long ago. I think there's a point when you're a writer when you don't read. You kind of need the time, the head space away from other writers. You need to find your own voice. And so, you don't read.

    But then it comes back. Time opens up. Something falls into your lap. And then you're reading again. And you wonder why you ever stopped.

    I think posts like this are important. I wish you had posted it a year ago. So other writers would know they're not alone. I bet it's more common than you'd think.