Read more in 2009

Happy New Year.

It’s that time of the year when many people make resolutions for the year ahead – often breaking them by the second week of January despite their best intentions.

One resolution I made last year was to read more – namely a book per month. Considering that some people get through a book or more a week, my target wasn’t exactly going to break any world records, but it was realistic given my other interests and the amount of spare time I generally have at my disposal.

When I began writing Lord of the Rams, I was at a stage in my life where I read very little – the odd book every so often and that was about it. Although reading had been one of my main hobbies when I was growing up (and from which I learned an immeasurable amount unbeknownst to myself at the time), it had taken a back seat during my teens and early twenties.

Fortunately, I’ve rediscovered my old hobby over the past few years. Not only does reading help improve one’s writing and vocabulary, but it also serves to inspire, educate and entertain like few other media can.

One of the main reasons I wrote Lord of the Rams was because I wanted to write a book that I would like to read  – something that would perhaps appeal to the casual reader. I know a few people who have never read a book cover-to-cover but they read Lord of the Rams in record time. Sure, most of those people are friends who had a vested interest in the book. But others are people I barely know – friends/relations of my friends/acquaintances – some of whom have reported back similar experiences. As an author, that’s exactly the kind of feedback you want to hear.

But most of us need to broaden our horizons.The casual reader will generally only ever buy a book if they know the author or if the book has received massive publicity (think The Da Vinci Code). But the fact is that there are countless numbers of books on the market that will appeal to even the most pernickety of readers. Although my tastes aren’t particularly varied, I read crime fiction, general fiction, and autobiographical books amongst others during the past year – all of which entertained in different ways.

And yes I kept last year’s resolution – I managed to get through 13 books in 2008. And my book shelf is already stacked for 2009. In fact I’m already half-way through Matt Dunn’s book Best Man with varied offerings such as The Woods (by Harlen Coben), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (by John Boyne), Slash (by, would you Adam and Eve it, Slash), and The Deportees (by Roddy Doyle) all lined up.

So get to your local book shop and try to read more in 2009. It’s a resolution you might just keep!

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