In November, I was looking longingly towards December and all the free time it would bring to slow down, quiet down, and read more. Reading is an important item in a writer’s toolkit, but December came and went and I spent it speeding around, shouting, and reading very little.
I haven’t been walking my talk.
I talk about loving books and loving reading and although I’m not planning to write a “year in review” column, I did do a mental “review of books” in my mind and I came up a bit short in 2012. I didn’t even read a book a month! I call myself a bookworm and write about my love of words and books and libraries, but then hardly read anything.
My brother is walking his talk and he has a list to prove it.
I know it’s not a contest but there are many good reasons to read more. Most writers, when asked for tips on how to be a better writer, will say “read more books.” An alumnus from my alma maters of Lisbon High School and the University of Maine at Orono had some excellent advice for writers. On page 145 of Stephen King’s book “On Writing,” he states:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others. Read a lot and write a lot.”
Sometimes I blame the internet for my lack of book reading. I use this article to footnote my case against the internet as book reader’s roadblock. See, I’m making excuses right now and sending my readers down rabbit trails.
Since I couldn’t consult Stephen King directly for suggestions on how to read more, I asked another person from King’s birthplace of Durham, Maine. My brother, who read 30 books this year, suggested I try to read one book per month and focus my reading on agricultural writers, like Gene Logsdon and Wendell Berry. Then he said “Maybe Aunt Tomato could write a book-of-the-month review for the blog.”
Aunt Tomato once took a class on writing book reviews.
Although my blog is not an idol, I spend a lot of mental energy thinking about it. My commitment to writing this blog six days per week has become an enjoyable job for me. When someone suggests “do it for the blog” I can’t help but smile a little bit inside and say “OK, I can do it for the blog.”
I walked over to my bookshelf and pulled out “The Contrary Farmer” by Gene Logsdon. It’s a 230 page book, more or less; there are 31 days in January. I can surely read 8 pages per day of Mr. Logsdon’s essays on farming. You can too.
Gene Logsdon has written a lot of books and he has a blog; it’s filled with excellent posts. I’ll bet Mr. Logsdon makes time to reads lots of books. To motivate myself to stick to my reading plan, I’m making January “Gene Logsdon Month” here at the blog. On January 31, 2013, I’ll post a book review of “The Contrary Farmer” in the context of gardening and small-scale farming.
Bookmark this blog and make a note to meet me back here in a month and we’ll discuss it. Until then–8 pages per day.