To write well, you must read often. I think most of us know that. Yet, finding time to read can be a challenge. At least, it is for me. That’s coming from a former librarian, too.
If you write for a living, then reading isn’t merely a leisure activity. It’s an investment in your career. Fortunately, there are no shortage of tools to keep you on track. Here are some of my personal favorites.
First, though, the usual disclaimer: I’m not getting paid to promote any of these products or services. They are simply ones that I’ve found helpful.
This app, available for both Apple and Android devices, lets you create habits and track your progress. It’s customizable, too, so you can set the parameters of success. My personal goal is to read at least 25 pages a day, five days a week. If I wanted to track whether I read that day, I can do that, too. Or, I can track how many hours a day I read.
The calendar view shows you how many days in a row you’ve been successful. When I enter my daily page count, I also write the title of the book in the notes section. That way, I can go back through the calendar and see what book I read and how long it took to read.
Although I’ve been a member for a while, it’s only recently that Goodreads has become a mainstay of my reading life. Connecting my Goodreads account to this blog allows me to display what I’m currently reading — and provide a not-so-subtle reminder of the books I have yet to finish.
As an added bonus, the book review feature allows you to write about what you’ve read. This is especially helpful for writers looking to break into the book review market.
The American Library Association
A resource for librarians and patrons alike, the American Library Association is a great place to find great reading suggestions and top-notch book lists.
If you feel like living dangerously, check out the ALA’s lists of the top 10 most frequently challenged books. Or, if you’re into young adult fiction, check out the winners of the Michael L. Printz Award, which recognizes excellence in YA literature. Your state library association may also have its own book awards for children, teens, and adults.
This database is available through many public libraries. (You do have a library card, don’t you?) It not only searches books by title and author. It can also recommend book and author read-alikes. It can even compile book lists based on your preferences in pace, tone, writing style, and other factors.
What tools do you use to find new books? What strategies do you use to stay on top of your reading? Share in the comments below.
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