Sunday, 8 May 2011

Now I Am Worried - 1000 books?

Today, in my tea break at work I was able to read my May issue of Writing Magazine.

I know, I know, my June issue has already arrived and I'm not even half way through this magazine!

I managed to read the article on Lee Child. It was very interesting. I do tend to like reading about different authors, it actually makes me go buy their books, (or follow them on Twitter and add their books to my to-read list). That's how I came about to read Gerald Seymour's The Collaborator and stumbled across Sue Moorcroft.

I liked Lee Child's ideas about language and even agreed with him. He raised good points about characters too, and I even would now like to read one of his books. I'm interested in his 'Jack Reacher'. (Which one should I read first?)

What worried me is that he said, "If you are starting to write and you haven't read a thousand books first, you're not ready." 

Maybe I need to up my forty books a year challenge? I've read far from 1000 books!

I agree that you need to read, but do I have to wait until I've reached a thousand?


  1. So called "advice" like that just bugs me. It's ridiculous. Has every great book only been written by someone who's read 1000 books? I'm reading Tom Jones right now, published in 1749 and still in print. Had Fielding read 1000 books before he started writing? Did he even have access to that many! He certainly couldn't have read 1000 novels, since he was one of the first people to be writing what we now call novels. And yet he wrote a great novel still read centuries later.

    It's just snobbery designed to puff up the ego of someone who's had the opportunity to read that many books and let those who haven't done so know that, sorry, they're just not up to the job of writing books. It's not for the likes of them. Ignore it.

  2. Lol! That got a reaction (and you had no problems posting - I assume!)

    But you're right, it is snobbery. I was sort of thinking it when I read it. (Unfortunately, with the written word it's sometimes hard to 'hear' the sarcasm in my voice).

    I know you're encouraged to read more, and I understand the benefits. But I find it hard to believe that you're not ready to write until you've read a thousand!

    I forgot to mention I haven't actually read a Lee Child book (yet) so can't comment on how good he is lol!

  3. I've started using Chrome and can reply fine with that.

    Heh, yes, it kind of struck a nerve. Someone needs to borrow a step-ladder and get over himself.

  4. While I agree it seems high - does he say within what time period? I would venture to guess that if one read as a child, and continued into adulthood, 1000 books isn't that 'out there'. And every book read, even as a child, has an influence on how one writes now.

    Just a thought. ;-)

  5. Star, at last! You got to post!

    No he doesn't specify a time frame, and admittedly, if I'd read 40 books a year from the age of 6/7 I would have read 1200 books.

    But I didn't. 40 books a year now can be a bit of push.

    I didn't even know I wanted to write until 2006 - then I did start reading more.

    I think it was a bit of arrogant statement really. He should have advised that to be a writer you do need to read plentiful - I understand that. But to pluck a figure out of the air, like Becky Black says...


I love reading your comments and I will try to reply when I can. Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment.