Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

reading, reading, reading… December 22, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

At the moment, I’m listening to the last chapter of Diana Gabaldon’s Echo in the Bone which will wrap my eighth trip through this series (some 8000 pages) since I discovered it October of 2011.  I read constantly: novels for adults, teens, and children, magazine articles, e-books, knitting instructions, blogs, and research material.  I knew it was ‘a lot,’ but I wanted to quantify it, so this time last year I signed up on with a challenge to read 100 books in 2012.  I am at book #98, and as today is the first day of Christmas holidays, I should have no trouble surpassing my goal in the last 8 days of the year.  (I only got to count the Outlander series the first time I read each book in the calendar year, which definitely has impacted my totals).

I read somewhere on her blog that Diana Gabaldon herself reads 3 to 400 books a year.  That seems super-human!  At the Surrey International Writers’ Conference author Chris Humphreys casually remarked in a workshop that “Diana doesn’t sleep.”  I know that she works at night, but it seemed to me that she must be both a fast reader, and one who incorporates reading into most of her daily activities.  I just came across this blog post of hers that tells exactly how she does it.  Précis: books are everywhere, and her nose is always in one!

I feel like she does, that a house without books is weird.  Moreover, they feel kind of ‘wrong’ to me!  There is not a single room in my house that doesn’t have a few books in it!  Bathrooms have a book or two on the back of the toilet tank, bedrooms have them on shelves or night tables, kitchen has cookbooks, living room has my latest research material, writing books, and a stack of whatever I’ve got from the library.  The basement has travel books, craft books, and hundreds of university books. (I was an English major, so my classics library is prodigious).  I haven’t read *every* book in the house, but I’ve read most of them.  Ones I haven’t read yet, I hope to read someday soon!  (Except John’s psych text books).

DianaGabaldoncaughtreading2 (1)I had felt pretty good about accomplishing my 100 book goal this year, amid writing two novels, keeping a ‘more-or-less daily’ blog, and teaching full-time, but apparently I have a long way to go! 😉  Diana is an excellent role model, however.  She both reads daily, AND gets a thousand words written each day on whatever novel or short story project is in progress.


Here’s Diana, reading at SIWC.  This is a photo for Word on the Lake’s “Caught Reading” promotion, which you might want to be part of.  Stay tuned!  (I should have used a better camera for this!)


7 Responses to “reading, reading, reading…”

  1. I made it to my goodreads goal of 100 books last year, so I put this year’s goal at an ambitious 150 books for the year 2012. I’m beginning to suspect that was just a dash bit too ambitious. I’m at 131 at the moment. 19 books to go before January first. Yikes!

  2. I am envious of your ability to stick to tracking your goal on goodreads – makes me think I should give it another try for 2013. I am also amazed to hear that you have read Gabaldon as many times as you say!! Those are giant books!! Do you find that you read hardcopy or e-books most often, or listen to audiobooks? I have asked Joulupukki for an e-reader this year 😉

    • Shawn Bird Says:

      I read each book 4X in 2011 via the ebooks I downloaded from the library. I did nothing but work and read when I discovered them! Then I read through a couple times on the paper copies I bought from used book stores. Then I bought the audio books, and through 2012 I listened to them in lieu of TV, while doing housework, and while driving. I am inclined to read until 2 a.m. during the school year, and until 4 a.m. in the summer and holidays.

      I’m finding that I like audio books more and more, because I can ‘read’ while I work at other things. For example, I’ve got the first Sookie Stackhouse book playing right now… I have some major spring cleaning scheduled for the Christmas break, and I figure that I’ll be able to get through this book (9.5 hours), Master and Commander (16.5 hours), and Casual Vacancy (18 hours). I like multi-tasking! 🙂

      • I agree – audiobooks are great for multitasking. We love listening to something when we travel. I had to stop listening to audiobooks at bedtime because I found that listening triggered some kind childhood behaviour and put me to sleep almost immediately.

        Let me know your thoughts (or blog them) on Casual Vacancy. Haven’t read it but am curious.

      • Shawn Bird Says:

        Outlander books are great on audio because they’re 45-65 hours long! 🙂 It was weird to listen to a whole book basically within 24 hours like the Charlaine Harris one I ‘read’ yesterday evening and this morning. I’ve just started Master and Commander, but so far I’m not particularly enamoured, so I might just switch over to Casual Vacancy tonight…

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