“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
― Stephen King
Reading is a huge part of being a writer. It helps you to gain an instinctive grasp on plot, character development and story structure that you will never learn from a class. It’s immersive learning and, with the right book, it’s also a great deal of fun. Why do we write? We write because we love sharing thoughts through written word. So why wouldn’t we love receiving thoughts through the same medium.
I know a lot of people who love to read. And they’ll ask me how many books I’ve read this year – because they have a list. I never do. When January 2014 rolled around this year, I decided it was time to start keeping track of all the reading I do. Which…is not at all what I’ve accomplished here. I’ve realized, when writing this list, just how much I read that is not technically a book or a short story, etc. I read three issues of Writer’s Digest this year and an issue of Publisher’s Weekly. I read MANY fanfics. I read stuff my friends sent me to beta read. I read cereal boxes. I read Max & Mo Go Apple Picking a trillion times to Logan. I helped to teach Logan how to read it himself. It’s been a long year. And, as I told Logan, the only way to learn to read is to try to read everything in front of you. See a sign? Read it. See a box of food? Read it.
I realized, in teaching him that, that it’s what I’ve been doing since I was young. Soaking up all the written information I could get my hands on.
So, without further ado, here is my, not by any means exhaustive, list of reading materials I’ve perused since 2014. Enjoy!
Full Length Books
1) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
2) The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
3) Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness – I reviewed this trilogy! Follow the link!
4) American Gods by Neil Gaiman – This was a reread of something I hadn’t read since my ridiculous goth years. So much better this time around.
5) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I loved this book. I loved this movie. This book being bought for me last Christmas so I would stop reading “all that Sci Fi crap”, and I wanted to spite hate it, but I couldn’t put it down. A fun mystery about horrible people.
6) The Story Within by Laura Oliver – A great writing book (and another Christmas gift).
7) Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong – I’ve long touted Kelley as my favorite author and this book is no exception to her greatness. Diving into a new YA universe is always much fun with her.
8) Across the Universe by Beth Revis – I took a chance on this series based on a short story I found in a YA Dystopian anthology. I wasn’t disappointed.
9) Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
10) A Million Suns by Beth Revis
11) Odin’s Ravens by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr – I don’t care if it’s middle grade. If it’s by Kelley, I’m reading it. Judge all you want.
12) City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare – I have such a love/hate relationship with this book series, but I fell so hard for a couple of the characters, I couldn’t NOT see how things turned out for them. I told myself this was it for me and Ms. Clare. Except…there was an untied loose end that leads to a new series coming out next year. And despite myself…I. WANT.
13) The Vast and Brutal Sea by Zoraida Cordova – I’ve been reading this series by my buddy Zoraida for the last three years and this was the stunning wrap up to her first YA series. Perfect conclusion.
14) Four Divergent Stories by Veronica Roth – After Allegiant, I never believed I would get back on the Roth train, and not for the reasons so many people thought. It wasn’t about the end of the book, it was about the way Roth lost Four’s voice in that final book. But here, she brought him back and he was him in all his glory. Perfect. I missed him.
15) Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro – The book that inspired a blog post. You’ll see it soon. I wanted to have a sprightly debate with Ms. Shapiro. Which means, of course, that the book did it’s job.
16) Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr – I’m not big on stories about the fae, but I fell hard for this one, told by fellow Sucker Literary staff member, Vanderkarr. So hard, in fact, that I bought part 2 the day it debuted.
17) Joss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale – If Kelley Armstrong is my favorite author, then Joss Whedon is my favorite EVERYTHING. So…a biography of my hero? Yes, please!
19) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman – If I was going to read American Gods, might as well go for the sequel I hadn’t read yet. Loved this. Possibly better than its predecessor.
20) Luck on the Line by Zoraida Cordova – Another one from my friend, Zoraida. She knocks it out of the park with her first New Adult romance. And I will not tell you what my signed copy says, but she blushed writing it and I laughed out loud reading it. Good to know other people feel awkward writing sex scenes….
21) The Poison Tree by Kacey Vanderkarr – The sequel to Reflection Pond. Made me so happy.
Novellas/Published Short Stories
1) The Course of True Love and First Dates by Cassandra Clare – This was one short story that was part of a collection surrounding Magnus Bane, one of the stand out characters of Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I have recently started (but had not finished at press time), The Bane Chronicles, a collection of these short stories. But this one was about my favorite character, Bane’s boyfriend, Alec, and I just couldn’t stay away until the full book came out. Because I am a loser.
2) Skid Out by Anne Marie Frohoff – I got this for free in a giveaway. So. Much. Bad.
4) Forsaken by Kelley Armstrong – New novella from Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series? Yes, please! New novella featuring my favorite villain from said series? GIVE ME NAO.
5) Luck on the Line Bonus Chapter .5 by Zoraida Cordova – Who doesn’t love the male point of view of a good female romance story? No, seriously. Tell me who?
Anthologies/Short Story Collections
1) Enthralled, edited by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr – Anthologies like this collection of YA stories is how I find new authors. Loved every story in this.
2) Sucker Literary: Volume 3 – If you haven’t heard about Sucker Literary from me a million and one times at this point, you must be wearing ear plugs. Not only did I work on the staff of this magazine, but it’s comprised of YA short stories which I love, and it’s run by some great people who genuinely want to contribute to the writing world. Also, every single story in this anthology is a winner. This is definitely one to check out.
3) Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West, edited by John Joseph Adams – I came here for Kelley Armstrong and Beth Revis. I got a couple of other stories out of this that I loved. But, really, this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I’m not much of a fan of Westerns, but I will say that this broadened my horizons a bit and I liked more than I thought I would.
4) Tell My Sorrows To The Stones by Christopher Golden – I won a signed copy of this. Chris has been on my top 5 faves for ages and this book demonstrates why. A mix of terrifying tales and true, real emotion, make Golden one of horror’s best.
5) Gifted by Kelley Armstrong – I’ve mentioned that I love Armstrong’s Otherworld and Cainsville series, and this short collection includes stories from both – both holiday themed. Both were surprisingly emotionally packed. I teared up a little. I’ll admit it.
2) Subterranean Press Spring 2014 – Another Cainsville short story. I’m realizing while looking at this list that…Kelley Armstrong writes a lot. Like…a LOT…every year.
So that’s my reading for 2014! I have already half-completed two books for 2015. And if that little bit at the end didn’t cue it up for you, check out my year-in-review this New Years! Happy Holidays to you all! See you soon!