For last week’s #Fridayreads on Twitter, I tried to consolidate my TBR piles (more of a TBR shelf), and was a bit shocked at the disparate groupings:
How did my fiction pile get so small?!
I know that during 2006-08 when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, I had very little time to read for pleasure while immersed in Antioch McGregor’s World Classics program. We were assigned 600-700 pages of reading each week, with a summary paper/essay questions due on top of that, and the bulk of that reading was non-fiction: Plato, Nietzsche, Achebe (yes, Things Fall Apart is fiction, but not pleasure-reading…at least not in my normal selection), Lessing, Kant, etc. Then the two-year IMA master’s program mixed in with research for and writing of Historic Warren County left little room for searching out the latest bestseller.
But that all ended four years ago. What happened?
Life? The tyranny of the urgent? Teaching, editing, my own writing…how could I possibly find time? Somehow when I did manage to pick up a book, it was non-fiction: the craft of writing, more philosophy (which was a close second after creative writing for my grad school focus), book reviews for Metapsychology. I enjoyed what I was reading, usually, but I wasn’t losing myself in other worlds, in the puzzle of a mystery, or in the lure of another time and place.
The words of Stephen King (and other notable writers over the decades) echoed in my head every time I passed up a chance to read for pleasure: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Many times, I resolved to do better, and I thought I was. I made more of an effort to find and read novels, especially in my chosen genre of mysteries, and to follow fellow writers in their publishing efforts. But then last week’s post, and the piles – so uneven! Glaring proof of my failure to be a good literary citizen for my writing community.
How could that be? I went back to my writing life spreadsheet (yes, I keep a spreadsheet: writing projects/progress, submissions, books read, events attended…don’t judge me!) and guess what? I have been reading! Not as much as I’d hoped, but several items popped up that cleared the confusion. Thanks to a Mother’s Day gift from my kids a few years ago, this is where much of my fiction TBR turns up:
Phew! I can return to my literary community unbowed, if not with head held high.
How does your TBR stack up?
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