On My Need… To Read!

christmas-presentHello! I bet you thought someone had wrapped me up by mistake and shoved me under a Christmas tree, I’ve been away for so long! But no, I am here. I’ve just been busy ‘Christmass-ing’, to coin a phrase. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

(*book plug alert!*) Amongst all the ‘partying’, frenzied shopping, card-writing and Strictly-gorging, I’ve been pootling away at the e-book that I’ve been writing.. well, for months, to be honest. (My writing buddy Sally will confirm this. When we met up on 5th October, I distinctly remember saying to her, ‘Oh yes, it’s nearly finished!’ and.. ahem, it still isn’t).

BUT it’s nearly there, so if 2017 is the year in which you’d like to start a new career (or brush up your existing skills!), you might be interested in my ‘Start a Creative Writing Class’ e-book – a handy guide for writers, tutors and would-be teachers – which I’ll be launching on Amazon any day now.

More about that anon. Now onto books in general….

I’m doing an exercise at the moment in which I track how much time I spend on various activities: watching TV, exercise, eating (!), sleeping, ‘creative work’ and stuff like that. It’s all very illuminating but one of the things that has shocked me most, is how little time I spend reading.

I know, I know, you’re all shaking your heads. It’s shameful. I usually manage a few minutes before my head sinks into the pillow (and that might just be a couple of short stories) but that’s about it.

So, that’s going to change in 2017. My plan is to ‘do a David Nicholls’ and read every day (he reads for half an hour the moment he wakes up. I’m not sure I can manage that but I might try).

Of course, we all know, as writers, that it’s vital to read. Because it’s inspiring and relaxing and it teaches us the possibilities of language and fiction – and not just because Stephen King said,’If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.’

I have 66 books waiting to be bought and read on my (ahem, public) Amazon wish list! So, the desire and motivation is there – I just need to prioritise it a bit more. AND, as I do a lot of driving, I need to get some audio books, so I can listen to novels while I’m on the move. Good thinking, eh?

I am actually reading something at the moment: it’s Jilly Cooper’s ‘Mount’ – yes, I know, not exactly a classic (‘Daft, boozy joy!’ as the Guardian reviewer described it) but you know when you just want something light and funny?

It’s set in the world of racing and ooh, there are an awful lot of stallions and sires and well, mounting. In fact, a scene I read last night, gave me palpitations (but not in a good way) and.. yuck, I keep getting flashbacks!

So, hmm, not everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps! What are you reading, folks? Any recommendations?!

PS: Happy Christmas!

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20 Responses to On My Need… To Read!

  1. Beverley says:

    I’ve just finished The Narnia Code by Michael Ward. It’s fascinating, but also frightening, because it shows the amazing depth of C S Lewis’s writing. It adds a whole new dimension to understanding the Narnia Chronicals. Oh, to be able to write like that!

  2. Sara Kellow says:

    I’m reading dark matter by Michelle Paver – it’s terrifying!

    • Ooh, Sara, I just looked at the reviews of Dark Matter – it does sound very scary!! But, guess what I have done… I have added it to the Amazon wishlist! (nearly at 70 books now, la la laaaa!)

  3. Hello, I can so identify with you on a few counts.
    I also analysed my time this year, the results were eye opening to say the least. Like you, I found reading was right down the bottom of the pile and only done in snatched moments here and there.

    My goal for 2017 is to factor in an hour a day of ‘me’ time, and I’m hoping a lot of those hours will be spent reading. although some will definitely be spent walking or doing pilates.

    I have an Audible subscription which is fantastic as it’s books on the go, and I can multi-task the mundane whilst listening to stories. Peeling the spuds has never been so entertaining.
    Coincidentally, like your last commenter, I’ve just finished Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. It’s first person writing at it’s best! And yes, it isn’t for the easily frightened.

    Regarding real books, I’ve gone away from the Kindle, I’m not sure why, maybe I just wanted to touch and feel a real book in my hand again. Anyway, I’m reading ‘A Discovery of Witches’ by Deborah Harkness, a historical fantasy, involving well, err witches, and demons and vampires which I’m enjoying, but not getting enough time to finish!

    The TBR (to be read) pile is growing again, Hubster won’t be pleased. I’ve a habit of littering the house with books. So that is my other thing for 2017, to get them all onto a couple of book cases, and any extras will have to be gifted to friends, or taken to the charity shop.

    Good luck with your reading challenge.

    • Thanks for your comment, Maria. I will definitely check out ‘Audible’! And I agree with you, it’s much nicer to have a book in your hands (even if it’s a monster, like ‘Mount’, which is hard to hold up in bed!) than a Kindle! Discovery of Witches sounds good! I like witch-demony-vampiry things too (occasionally).

  4. juliathorley says:

    I’ve read Dark Matter, too. Oo-er! I’ve always been too scared to do a time diary, because I know I do a lot of faffing. It’s up there with writing down all the money I spend: there are some things I just don’t want to know!

  5. Patsy says:

    I discovered an Agathe Christie I hadn’t read, so I’m completing the set.

  6. Ninette90 says:

    I have recently been ‘binging’ on Jojo Moyes novels and now I’ve run out – yikes! I do manage to read every day, usually when I go to bed in the evening or quite often during the evening, rather than watch the TV. My husband reads an enormous amount, sometimes for an hour and a half in bed at night, so I expect that encourages me to keep reading too. We also listen to audio books and I now have about twenty downloaded. We made the long drive backwards and forwards to Italy three times in 2016 and the audio books were brilliant. We have enjoyed, Stephen Fry, Michael Caine, Bill Bryson, to name just a few. I definitely know that reading inspires me to write.

    • Thanks Ninette. Your reading (and listening!) puts me to shame! I like Jojo Moyes too, although I haven’t read everything she’s written. I went to see her speak at Cheltenham Festival last year – you may have seen the post – and she was really nice (and normal!). Took ‘the man’ with me and wasn’t sure what he’d make of it/her but he enjoyed it too. I agree that reading inspires us to write. (although sometimes I just think ‘I could never write something like this!!!’ which is a bit depressing…) But anyway, onwards and upwards. I’m currently cleaning the whole house in preparation for my parents coming tomorrow. I must be the only person in the country who was ‘gardening’ today (well, picking up leaves and chopping down dead stuff!) Have a great Christmas and a very happy new year to you and your husband! x

  7. Keith Havers says:

    I’ve just started reading a few Mark Billingham books. Another very good crime writer is Stephen Booth.

  8. I’m very glad to know that you are not a great reader. I find it quite irritating to be constantly told that if I want to write I have to read.

    • Yes, it’s too much pressure, isn’t it?! The problem is, I WANT to be a great reader but it’s tricky to do lots of both – with me, it’s either one or the other! Have a good Christmas and thanks for following the blog!

  9. I probably spend far too much time on magazine/ internet reading that I sneakily call research. So much interesting stuff out there! My reading for pleasure – novels, collections of short stories, memoirs – is confined to bedtime and, like you, that usually only means a couple of pages before I fall asleep.
    I like the idea of starting the day with reading, but if it’s a good story I’d find it hard to stop after just 30 mins!
    Merry Christmas, and wishing you lots of enjoyable reading and writing in 2017!

    • Thank you, Linda. I spend far too much time on magazine/internet reading too! Need to do something about that in the New Year, I think! Thanks for following my blog and commenting, I do appreciate it! (otherwise I wonder whether anyone’s reading this stuff…!). Have a great Christmas and happy new year to you. x

  10. pennywrite says:

    Always lovely to look forward to a read.. holidays are perfect for catching up (or re-visiting favourites!)
    I’ve just enjoyed Sue Moorcroft’s latest novel, ‘The Christmas Promise.’ A Romance, with some unexpected themes.
    Always interesting to read your blog! Wishing you a happy Christmas and good writing in 2017!

    • Thank you, Penny. I’ve seen Sue’s new book advertised and it looks good. Perhaps I’ll read it over Christmas (as I have to admit I’ve now given up on ‘Mount’ – ugh, too much… of everything!) and I’m reading ‘The Lie Tree’ which has been on my shelf for ages and comes highly recommended. It’s a children’s book so shouldn’t take me too long to read – in between cooking the dinner and stuff! Have a great Christmas too and all the best for your writing next year! x

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