Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Challenge Benefits

In 2010, I challenged myself to read 100 middle grade and YA books and I did it – yay! Why do such a crazy thing? It was one way I'd be sure to read the kinds of books that I’m writing. I also I wanted to become familiar with more children’s authors and publishers, and hopefully learn something. So what did I learn?

1. It helped me remember more about the books I read. My list and occasional blog posts about the books led me to think more about what I was reading.

2. I developed a stronger sense of what I like to read—and the kind of book I want to write. The way I want it to sound. The kinds of characters and story I want to create. Even though I knew I had to read enough books to reach my goal, I wasn’t afraid to stop reading a book if I really didn’t like it. I didn’t include them on my list, but there were probably about 5 or 6 books I just gave up on.

3. Paying attention to publishers, editors and agents through books was a good start to immersing myself a little deeper in the publishing community.

4. Keeping track helped me see that even though I write MG, I often choose YA books to read. I had to focus more on MG books to keep it balanced. Maybe one day I’ll switch to writing YA?

5. I read some books I might otherwise have skipped over and actually enjoyed them.

I plan to start another book challenge for myself for 2011. I'll be sticking with the same goal of 100 MG and YA books. It seems like a good number for me, since I finished a couple of weeks before the end of the year.

How much reading do you do in the genre you are writing? How does it benefit your writing?


  1. I read as much as I can in my genres (I write in more than one.) Like you, I feel there is a lot to learn from all the very talented authors out there. I was intrigued by your challenge last year, but didn't learn of it until too late to start, so I have signed up on Home Girl's Blog to do a 100 book challenge this year. I too plan to stick to MG and YA as much as possible. I'm hoping to write a novel and have a lot to learn :) But I will also continue to read PB and Early Readers.

  2. All I read is pretty much MG and YA. But I tend to like upper MG, which is almost borderline YA. I'm writing my first YA and I'm loving it. The writing has never gone so fast, but that could also partly be due to the story, which I love. I do try and read adult lit. too b/c I think we can learn from outside our genre.

  3. Hello! Followed you here from PJ. A fellow Ontarian!
    I do read lots of MG and YA. I don't write fantasy or supernatural, but I am strangely drawn to reading them for sheer pleasure. But I also read lots of adventure, contemporary, and anything I can find about dogsledding!

  4. Terry Lynn, my reading interests are much broader than what I write, for sure.

    Laura, I've been writing MG and found I end up reading a lot of YA books. So this year, I'm going to try and concentrate more on reading MG. I also mix it up with adult reading, mostly mysteries. Why aren't there more good MG and YA mystery novels?

    Susanna, I'd love to read more PB. I read some at school, but not as many new ones as I'd like.I keep thinking that someday, I'd like to go back and try writing PB again.

  5. I kept track of the books I read last year for the first time--I didn't hit the 100 mark, but I sure read more than I normally would just because I kept track. I plan to up my tally this year--mostly MG, lots of PB, but YA as well, contemporary adult, memoirs, historicals. The banquet table is piled up, the suggestions from others' blogs are amazing, and I wish I could figure out how to add more reading hours to the day!

  6. I read YA, of course, but I think it's important to read widely, so I try to read in all categories and as many genres as possible.

  7. I do a tone of genre reading. I also read as many different types of genre as I can. And yeah, it imacts my writing. It fills my tank it you know what I mean. It inspires me.


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