I need to read more books. I mean, really really need to read more. I used to read tons of books, and when I ran out of books I reread the ones I had. And I’m still reading a whole lot. But last year I was still focused on short stories (which I read virtually every day). I logged an embarrassingly low six novels in Goodreads. To be fair, I did read more than that, so now I’m also embarrassed that I didn’t even fully track the small number I read. It doesn’t help that my to-be-read list is so freaking long that sometimes just looking at it makes me go do something else, like clean the shower or dig out an old tree stump in the backyard. At least those things were achievable, with a decided end point. The TBR list has no end in sight. It is infinite. Eternal. Someday, after the world ends, the electrons of people’s TBR lists from Goodreads will be all that remain. So put some good stuff on yours, okay?
Now I’m going to consciously focus on getting in more novels, instead of books’ worth of shorts. I saw a good blog post about this from Roni Loren, who is going for five pages a day. Of course it’s a trick—she’ll get herself hooked and read more than that! See? I don’t think that five-page trick is going to work so well on me, though. Not that I’m too clever for it, not at all. It’s just that my brain can be weirdly literal. Five pages means FIVE PAGES WE’RE STOPPING AFTER FIVE.
So my goal is twenty pages—something achievable, yet I could still make progress. And strangely, I find my brain is more flexible about that number. Why? I don’t know, by twenty pages it just gives up or something. Anyway, I think I can make that work.
The best tip for me in Roni’s post is the bit about trying to decide what to read next and trying out the first five pages of a couple of books. I think this will help me get rid of the “what I should read” monster that takes some of the fun out of reading.
And that’s a pretty important part of all this—have fun with it. Find what works for you, then keep doing that.
Though there’s a lot to be said for short fiction, too.