I read a lot. This week I finished my 63rd book of 2013, meaning I’m well on my way accomplishing my 150-book annual goal by New Year’s Eve. That said, I don’t read a lot of novels. Last year, I can count on ten fingers the number of novels I read among the 150 books I finished. (Including Fieldwork, which I loved, pictured above.)
There are various reasons for why I don’t read more novels, and none of them are very good.
1. I Feel Guilty that I “Should” Spend My Reading Time “Learning Something”
Probably the most clear reason I don’t read more novels is because I have an internal guilt alarm (clock? monitor?) telling me that if I am going to spend 3 hours reading a book, it better darn well teach me something. Is this stupid? Yes. Is this healthy? No. This is something that isn’t helping me, and if you’re anything like me, it’s likely not helping you either.
2. I Don’t Have a Long History of Loving Novels
This is the better reason in my arsenal of poor reasons for not reading novels, and it has a long history in my life. Since I was younger, whenever I wanted to read something NOT prescriptive (a business or self-help book, say), I gravitated towards memoirs. Some mild obsession with “real” stories seemed to be the driver, and it’s something that stuck with me for ages. This is not something I can change, and not something I need to change, really. It’s a reality.
3. The Content I Consume Recommends Nonfiction More than Fiction
Another clear reason I read more nonfiction simply has to do with what I’m exposed to. The content I read in the form of blogs, magazines, and online articles more often than not recommends nonfiction books, meaning that I have an ongoing list of nonfiction books that I want to read. In short, when I don’t go out of my way to look for book recommendations in the world, nonfiction ones consistently fall in my lap. So I end up reading nonfiction. Could I change this? Yes. I could easily spend a tiny amount of time and expose myself to more fiction recommendations.
All in all, these are some pretty sub-par reasons for not reading more fiction. Especially given that my word of the year is REST, I should be looking for ways to ensure that reading is as enjoyable as it can be. Although I do enjoy business books immensely, there is an argument to be made that I would perhaps I would feel more rested reading a novel or two.
So, have you read any good fiction of late you can recommend?