Like many, I struggle to balance my writing life, my personal life, my full-time job, and other obligations. Most writers believe reading is an integral part of writing; As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” If a writer doesn’t read in their genre, they are more likely to miss certain tropes or the pacing that readers of that genre are accustomed to, and therefore they will struggle to hook their target audience.
I also love to read. I’m just out of the habit.
Therefore, I’ve made reading a priority for 2018. Although I should focus on my genres (serial killer thrillers, historical romances, and YA/MG dark fantasy), I’m going to start by getting back into the swing of reading and carving out time to read, before focusing on any specific content.
I’m going to start off with a small TBR (to-be-read) list of 12, all books I already have or I have already pre-ordered. Once I’ve gotten through these books, I will add more.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr – A historical (1896) serial killer thriller soon to be (tonight, actually!) a TV series on TNT with a few of my favorite actors. I’m thisclose to being half-way. Although you can tell the author is not accustomed to writing fiction (he generally writes historical non-fiction), the story is still thrilling and engaging. (You can follow my progress on this book by checking out my Instagram.)
IT by Stephen King – I started reading this last summer, then noped out when the abusive husband changed his flight plans. I really want to finish, though. Since I got 55% done, this counts as half a book.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Another book I started reading and didn’t finish because I saw what was about to happen. A YA novel for the Black Lives Matter era. I had been reading exclusively at the gym and didn’t want to start crying in front of everyone. I got 10% through, but I’m still going to count it as half a book.
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan – Also going to be made into a series on Netflix (Feb 02) starring another one of my favorite actors. The series highlights how the rich live in a utopia while the poor live in a dystopia, but I’m not sure if that is a main theme in the novel. The novel is a cyberpunk murder mystery.
The Martian by Andy Weir – My husband bought this book for me after we both enjoyed the movie. I am super invested in space exploration and the Next Giant Step project, so I’m excited to read this one.
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – This book should not need any introduction. Adult dark fantasy. I’ve been putting off the series because I wanted to read the books first, although people tell me if really doesn’t matter.
Jackrabbit Smile by Joe Lansdale – The next (14th-ish) Hap & Leonard novel, also a TV show on Sundance, although they’re only on the third. The description includes “Pentecostal white supremacists,” which is on par with how Southern, gritty, and random Lansdale’s books are. I love the cover art, the name Jackrabbit, and making fun of Pentecostals, so I’m here for this.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – My favorite Twitter user with no fucks left to give has written a Civil War-era novel about a young black girl slaying some zombie ass. ‘Nuff said.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – OK, I lied, this is on the list not only because I won it in a Twitter giveaway, but because it’s a dark fantasy. Three sisters with different powers are competing to become queen. Only one can win, and the other two must die.
Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt – I know it’s contemporary-ish and there’s a witch, and several of my friends said it is the most terrifying novel they have ever read. It made their skin crawl.
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger – A school for Victorian assassins. What’s not to love? My sister-in-law told me I absolutely must read this, so I will.
The Ambulance Drivers by James McGrath Morris (nonfiction) – A book about Hemingway and novelist Dos Passos after they meet during World War I. I love pre-modern-era war narratives, especially the stories about Hemingway (the model for the Most Interesting Man in the World).
The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge (nonfiction) – A book about an actual knight Templar, William Marshal, who was the personal guardian and influencer of five different rulers. Oddly enough, I think I discovered this book from a radio ad…?
I’ve been reading in bed in the morning as I sip my coffee, although mornings and evenings are supposed to be devoted to spending time with my husband. This is going to be slooow going, so I’m going to find other times to smuggle reading into.
To spur myself, I’m going to update my Goodreads and Instagram more often, make my reading more social. Now that I have an office of my own, I have a nice space to take pretty pictures of books and such.
I think I will try to read one nonfiction or craft book and one fiction book at the same time. That way if I nope out of one story, I can hide in the other book until I’m ready to come back.
I want to hear from YOU
What books are on your TBR list and what methods do you use to keep up? Let me know in the comments below!
Do you have any serial killer thrillers, historical romances, or YA/MG dark fantasy books to recommend? Post a link!
Want more Avery Rhodes? Check out becomingcolossus.wordpress.com/
Looking for something else? Try my Anna Lillian Wade romances: