What Exactly is an Avid Reader?

Hello, hello, hello!  I have a confession to make.  As much as I love books, I’m not a voracious reader.  I think that one summer when I read like 15 books (including the uncut version of The Stand) kind of killed that part of me.  Granted, there are some books that I can still binge read, but usually two or three chapters at a time is all I can sit still for.  But it’s important for a writer to be an avid reader, right?  Well, yes and no.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely important to keep up with what’s hot in your genres, and reading certainly is key to improving your own writing.  It’s the word “avid” that I take issue with.  Mostly because people seem to mix up avid (“having or showing a keen interest in or enthusiasm for something,” according to Google) and voracious (“wanting or devouring great quantities” of something).  In other words, yes you should be an avid reader, but that doesn’t necessarily mean being a voracious reader.

You might be thinking that I’m splitting hairs with this, but am I really?  We all read at a different paces (and I happen to be on the slower end of the spectrum), so my “avid” is going to be different from yours.  I have friends who talk about the three books they started and finished within a week, and others who read two or three books simultaneously.  Meanwhile, I’m not even halfway through a book I started a week ago!  For a long time, that frustrated me.  It was like I was doing this whole reading thing wrong. 

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But then I wondered how exactly one could go wrong with reading.  You can’t.  Not really.  About the only way you can go wrong with reading is by not doing it.  I finally figured out that I am an avid reader, despite the fact that I read fairly slow and don’t binge read as much as others.  I’m perfectly okay with that now.  Plus, I’ve discovered other areas of reading in which I most certainly am voracious.  Manga is one of those areas.  I can read three volumes in one sitting if left to my own devices.  I think it’s partly because the pictures keep me from getting distracted the way I do with “big girl” books that have no illustrations.  I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at is that reading is important, but don’t let the reading rates of other people discourage you.  And for the super fast readers, keep it up!  Don’t look at us slowpokes like we’re nuts when we say things like “wow, that’s a lot,” though.  Everyone should be comfortable with their own pace.  As long as you find the magic meant for you in the book, that’s all that really matters!

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Read on!  Write on!  I’m off to get lost in the book I’m currently (slowly) working my way through.  Have a great day!  I’ll see you next week!

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