Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where do you read?

I frequently hear from writing friends that they don't have much time to read. Actually, I hear that from non-writer friends, too. I am totally mystified by the comment. Who doesn't have time to read?

There is a cute post at called Gulp or sip: How do you read? The blogger and I have much in common when it comes to reading.

I read all the time, every day. I used to get in trouble in school for whipping out a book and reading during class. When I started reading romances in high school—the kind with Fabio and an unlaced corset on the front—I bought a cloth book cover so that teachers couldn't object (as much) to what I chose to read.

Like the blogger, I read when I eat by myself. I read before bed. I read on airplanes. I love flying by myself because I have hours where I can do little else besides read.

When I was nursing both of my kids, and pumping on breaks at work, I would read. I had to set myself a timer to make sure I didn't get too engrossed in a book and stay in the mother's room for an hour at a stretch.

I read old classics through (free! Delivered in small chunks via RSS feed to Google Reader! Alice in Wonderland is even wackier than I remember it!).

Lately, with the addition of my Sony reader and both the Borders and Kindle apps on my phone, I read everywhere. In between stirring the tomato sauce for dinner and draining the pasta. Just out of splash range while the kids are in the bathtub. During Dragon Tales, Max and Ruby, and WordWorld. In the lobby during the kids dance class. In the waiting room at the doctor's office.

I read in the car on long car rides. I read on short car rides. If I cared for audio books (I don't), I'd “read” while driving. I'm tempted to try them again, just to make a dent in my list of books to read.

With few exceptions, I read two or more childrens' books every night. Outloud. To my children, who always beg for one more.

Since starting writing the past few years, I haven't noticed any decline in how much I read. But I have changed what I read.

I read books on writing, books on grammar (a small section at a time), books in genres that I'm also writing, books that are completely different. I read my critique partners' chapters of books they haven't finished yet. I've beta-read whole books for them. I read blogs and more blogs (from editors, agents, writers, book reviews).

I also read more than one book at a time, and I don't always finish them. Right now, I probably have 5 books in progress. I can think of two books on writing, at least two fiction books I've started, and a couple of non-fiction ones in areas of research for potential future writing of my own.

I used to finish every work of fiction that I started, no matter what. I'm much pickier now. I also have an entire bookshelf (plus a still-unpacked duffel bag) full of books that I've bought or received (love free books from RWA conference!). So a book has to be great (or better than great), or else it can be replaced by one of a hundred more that I have queued up and ready to go.

What about you? Where do you read? Or do you need a long "gulp" for your reading time?


Amanda said...

I find that I have trouble putting down books I start that are good, and even more difficulty picking back up the bad ones or ones that failed to capture my attention. I also binge when I read, as in finish the book as quickly as possible. Maybe it's more obsessive compulsive reading.

I've been trying to let myself read more as I'm more confident in my writer's voice and style, but sometimes even the blurb on books won't entice me to read them.

Bethany said...

I have to say I gulp, like Amanda just commented, it's almost compulsive (but even with a bad book, I just end up skimming through until the end). I wasn't always a gulper. I used to have about 5-6 books I was in the process of reading. I have a few books I've put down, mostly nonfiction or more "academic" type books. Perhaps my change in reading pace has more to do with the genres I've been reading than anything. Ever since I discovered romance and sci-fi/fantasy I've been hooked. Maybe it's time to branch out a little.

HiddenChicken said...

I read almost exactly like you do, Kristi. I can think off the top of my head of four books I've got in progress. I read while I pump, I used to read while I was nursing until Evelyn got too interested in my Kindle, I read while the kids play and when I'm working out (as long as I'm going slowly enough). I even read while I'm brushing my teeth.