Fairly regularly, I have some reader ask about my reading habits. Most assume I’m a voracious reader (and finisher) of hundreds of books — like normal authors, I presume? — but actually, it’s quite the opposite.
I try to be a voracious reader. But frankly, I am a notoriously picky reader.
I don’t finish about eighty percent of the books I start, and I’ve literally gone to the library or bookstore to pick out a book and returned home two hours later without one.
But I do love to read. Don’t get me wrong. I just mostly re-read my favorites. I kid you not, I’ve re-read some of my favorite books more than five or six times. (I think I’ve read one or two of them probably ten times, but I don’t expect you to believe that.)
And I don’t just read them. That’s not really an honest statement. I sort of chew on them. I move through them pretty slow when I’m re-reading (truthfully, I’m a slow reader even on the first run-through). But when I’m re-readine one of my favorite books, what I’m really trying to do is see (and study) what the author is doing.
I like to dissect what they’ve done — if I can — on each page, and even each paragraph. And I’ve personally found that I get far more out of books (from a learning perspective) when I’m re-reading one, than from reading a new one. For me, I find it’s nearly impossible to learn something when you don’t know what twist or turn is coming up.
But back to the main point, as I said above, with most books, I don’t even finish them; much less re-read them.
Most of the time, I start them and the author goes left when I think he/she should’ve gone right. Or the book gets me thinking about one of my stories, and next thing you know, I’m sitting down writing.
In many respects, I’m more of a writer than a reader. If you turn a movie on, or even start a conversation with me, often you’ll see my eyes drift about halfway through it because you can just about guarantee that my mind has drifted off to some kind of story idea. And by then, I’m almost dying to get to my desk and start writing.
Anyway, would love to hear your all’s reading habits. Feel free to comment below!