Why You Should List Every Book You Read

Last year I began a little experiment.  I decided to make a note of every book I read.

Why? I’m not sure; part of it was to see how many books I get through.  I firmly believe that all writers should read lots – after all, it’s only by reading you see what others are achieving with language – and I wanted to see if I read as much as I thought I did.

What I found was interesting. 

Keeping a record of all the books I’d read actually spurred me on to reading more.  It became a bit of a personal challenge to see how many I could get through.  I learned to fit reading around more of my day-to-day activities – in the morning over breakfast, whilst waiting for a haircut, during lunchtimes at work.

Reading more also meant I read more widely.  Completing books didn’t take so long so I was free to take chances on something I hadn’t tried before, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be mired in something I found difficult for too long.  I found I was reading seasonally; I read Witches Abroad whilst on holiday (well, on my honeymoon) and a clutch of horrors around Halloween.

Oddly enough, it didn’t feel like the extra time I was putting into reading actually took up any of my time.  I still worked at my writing, still played drums, still kept the house in order.  And frequently what I was reading inspired me to write more – particularly works by authors that were new to me.

I’ll be keeping a record of all the books I read this year too.  Obviously, I’ll try and read at least one book more than last year.  I’m sure it’ll be as inspiring and satisfying as it was last year – I fully recommend giving it a go!

 

If it’s of interest, here’s my list of books that I read in 2018:

 

Stephen Hawking – A Brief History of Time

Ben Elton – High Society

Robin Hobb – Royal Assassin

Ellis Peters – A Morbid Taste for Bones

John Marrs – The One

Michael J. Malone – House of Spines

Colin Stuart – 13 Journeys Through Space and Time

James Herbert – Others

Elizabeth Moon – Remnant Population

Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl             (A few of my childhood favourites crop up here after I visited my parents for a weekend)

Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident

Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code

Terry Pratchett – Johnny and the Dead

Anthony Horowitz – Groosham Grange

Anthony Horowitz – The Unholy Grail

Terry Pratchett – Witches Abroad

Mark Forsyth – The Etymologicon

Clive Barker – Books of Blood Vol. II

Terry Pratchett – Carpe Jugulum

Neil Gaiman – Norse Mythology

Thomas Olde Heuvelt – HEX             (A brilliant modern horror. It was genuinely scary; I was hesitant to turn off the lights after reading) 

Chris d’Lacey – The Fire Within

Clive Barker – Books of Blood Vol. III

Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Quest

Garth Nix – Sabriel             (My first time reading the Sabriel books. I was pleasantly surprised by how imaginative, grown up and occasionally even gritty they were)

Bram Stoker – Dracula’s Guest and Other Stories

Garth Nix – Lirael

Stuart MacBride – Now We Are Dead

Garth Nix – Abhorsen

Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House             (The first of a few horror stories. I read Hill House before watching the popular adaptation on Netflix but actually preferred the latter)

Stephen King – Firestarter

William Peter Blatty – The Exorcist             (This made such an impression on me I wrote a post about it here)

Liam Smith – After Life             (Yes, it’s my book, but it’s so long I thought it should count for this list. My sole resolution this year is to contact agents and to try and get this published)

Stephen King – The Gunslinger

Stephen J. Martin – Superchick

Stephen J. Martin – A Rock and Hard a Place

Stephen J. Martin – Ride On

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol             (’tis the season for a ghost story.  I enjoyed A Christmas Carol much more than Dickens’s longer books for which he was paid by the word)

Terry Pratchett – Hogfather

Suzannah Lipscomb – Witchcraft

Terry Deary – The Lambton Worm

 

I also intermittently read the following tales by H.P. Lovecraft from the Necronomicon.  As short stories, I felt they should be on a separate list.

The Call of Cthulu

Cool Air

The Silver Key

The Dunwich Horror

The Strange High House in the Mist

The Whisper in Darkness

Liam Smith

Writing twisted gothic tales and drumming whilst I think up more.

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