Avid writer not avid reader

I am an avid writer but not an avid reader. I spend much of my evenings and weekends (when not at work) posting to blogs or working on my novel. I’ve read that to be a good writer you should read, read, read. I have lots of books on Kindle and in paper format but I have a habit of starting them and not finishing them. I’m the queen of half-finished books.

Some of the half-finished books on my Kindle or nightstand:

  • The Scarpetta Factor by Patrica Kornwell
  • Geek Love By Katherine Dunn (I read it so long ago that I consider this a fresh read)
  • Until I find You by John Irving
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir by Nick Flynn
  • Finding Hanna by John R Kess
  • By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer
  • The Judas Goat by Robert Parker
  • Finders Keepers by Stephen King

I do spend lots of time reading blogs and web articles. I would say that almost counts except that it’s a reflection of my short attention span. Anything longer than 5000 words and it’s TL;DR (too long, didn’t read).

I used to speed through books. Umberto Eco. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Thomas Hardy. Chaucer. When I moved to poetry I lost my tolerance for long novels. William Carlos Williams ruined me for reading novels.

Maybe I haven’t found the right novels to capture my interest. Many years ago (almost twenty-five years ago!) my favorite novel was Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I read it so long ago that it feels as though I’m reading it for the first time. The last book I really loved and read all the way through in recent history was Stiff by Mary Roach, but even that was a few years back. I read a few others by Mary Roach. Packing for Mars was quite good.

Since then my reading has atrophied. I might read a chapter before forgetting about a book. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an easy read or a denser, higher quality read. Stephen King is easy reading and I still can’t get past the first few chapters before neglecting it.

Does anyone else have this problem? Do you even consider it a problem? Are you an avid reader? Tell me what books you like best.