Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

We all know that as aspiring authors, novice writers, etc. we should read extensively. This reading should be done both inside and outside our preferred genre. Easier said than done, though, on so many many levels. this year I've tried once to break out of my comfortable reading zone of YA fantasy. It hasn't worked. At all. Example: I tried reading Damsels in Distress by Joan Hess. It's a murder mystery. I bought it as a publisher's remainder at B&N for like $5 with money I got for graduation with my master's degree. I lasted 60 pages or so before I retreated for my comfort genre. This is just one of several books I started this year but didn't finish. But it is the only one outside my genre. The next book I read will be in that genre.

Whenever I can get to that TBR list, that is.

That said, I'll now post said list in hopes that it will get me motivated to read through them.

The List
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
The Naming by Alison Croggon
Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Sturgeon
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need by Susan Thurman and Larry Shea
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

So many books, so little time should also read "so little means." Here's my wishlist:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Curse my phobia of library books that won't allow me to borrow books to read for pleasure. (Research materials are another thing entirely.) Sigh.

OK, I'll stop rambling now. But you tell me: Did I miss a book I absolutely should have on my TBR or wishlist? Is there something there you'd absolutely recommend against? What are your strategies for breaking out of your comfort reading genre? Would you like to see a list of what I've read this year? If so, when? This week? In December?

I'll stop with the 20 questions now.


  1. I haven't read any of these but I would like to check out Christopher Paolini's books. I read just about anything depending on my mood.

    The first fantasy I read was my son's WiP which led me to read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series because my other son had recommended it.

    You should put up a list of all the books you've read this year!

  2. I feel ya. I have such a hard time reading out of my genre. Kudos to you for trying. I should probably put up a TBR list too for books outside of my norm.

  3. I have a hard time reading outside my genre, too. It's taken me over three months to read the book I'm reading now, and I think it's because it's out of my genre.

  4. I'm not that picky. I read a little of everything, but I'm not reading anything until I start querying.

    Maybe that's why I had such a hard time picking a genre...

    WV: rackin. I had a hard time rackin my brain to find a genre for my book because I like so many.

  5. Keep trying! Reading outside of one's preferred genre is tricky, it took me a few good years to get to where I am now that is I can read mostly anything in any genre. Alas the main conflict of reading you have posted, too many books, so little time.

    I read Paolini's book, it is a welcome escape from the daily stresses of reality. I also read the grammar book by Lynne Truss, I learn a thing or two. Very entertaining for a grammar book.

    Good Luck!

  6. I recently read on a friend's blog advice she had gotten from a conference that said you should read what you write. So, if you love YA, reading it will only strengthen your writing voice.

    I read almost exclusively MG and love it and don't feel bad about it at all. It helps me be a better MG writer (I think/I hope). I did read the Hunger Games/Catching Fire - mostly because my teen was reading them - and found them a little violent for my taste. Nicely written, fine books - but I don't do well w/ that level of voilence. It's a personal thing.

  7. Can you borrow from friends? I have Hunger Games and Catching Fire. And Hush, Hush for that matter. (Well, if Jamie ever gives it back...)

    I've got Graceling I'm going to read next. and The Almost True Tale of an Indian (or something like that). I'm going to read that next.

  8. Borrowing from friends is like borrowing from the library, only like a billion times worse cause I'm so worried I'll mess up their book somehow. I could try though.

    Thanks, everyone. Off to write now.

  9. I didn't realize how many comments there were. I always feel guilty if I don't address you all individually, but sometimes there's just nothing that comes to my brain.

    SF, the Paolini books are a good escape series. I've not read Robert Jordan, though my brother did try very desperately to get me hooked on them.

    Quixotic, thanks. I'd do the TBR for outside my genre if I had anything on it!

    LW, kudos to you for actually finishing the book that was outside your genre.

    L.T., I think sometimes it's better to not be so picky. (Heaven knows my mom would have preferred I were less picky in my eating habits growing up.)

    Anie, thanks! Good to hear that reading outside your genre can be enjoyable.

    Tess, I've heard that too. But I've also heard that you should read a lot outside of your genre for a fresh take on things in your genre. That's where I get stuck because I just haven't been enjoying things not in my genre.

    Elana, I like Alexie, but I'm not sure I could handle him too much more. I think a lot of writers in the culture have a tendency of being a little heavy-handed with the social commentary. I'm not saying they should abandon it all together, just that it could be more subtle at times.

  10. I haven't read any of these except Hush, Hush which i recently reviewed. But I have Hunger Games and hope to read it soon.

    I struggle with reading outside of my genres too (YA and romance). Recently, I've compromised and started reading subgenres inside my romance genre. Doing this has allowed me to discover a love for historical romance. I also just read a m/m romance, which was way outside of what I've read before, but ended up enjoying that too, lol.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing.

Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author.