IWSG 81: You Are What You Read–apparently


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Sarah – The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui MurrayChemist KenVictoria Marie LeesNatalie AguirreJQ Rose


Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I have a feeling I’m going to sound like everyone else this month. You probably read as much or more than I do.

I read everything from how-to-write manuals to the classics and everything in between.

I spent a few months reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. All the stories were inspirational and hilarious. Moved on to Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Note: Since the classics were free to read, I downloaded them from Project Gutenberg: Free eBooks. They focus on older works for which the copyright has expired.

Then after the classics I jumped into an Atwood trilogy, and that’s where I’ve been living for the last few days.

So I’ve broken away from my usual favorite mysteries by Janet Evanovich, JD Robb, Michael Connelly, James Patterson to name a few. This may mean I’m growing, but don’t count on it. I’m still a child at heart.

I did tons of reading my courses through my local library. They ranged from Writing Effective Web content to Romance Writing. All interesting, but I went too fast, and now I feel I need to stop and revisit each course. This time I’ll take a long hard look and do each exercise with more enthusiasm than just trying to get it done.

And just to add a bit of spice to the mix I attended Fantasy Week Webinar through ProWritingAid and watched several FREE videos which were educational and really fun. Apparently they are doing another called Crime Week sometime in April if you’re interested.

It’s no wonder I don’t write much and when I do I never know where to start. Kidding, actually. I think I’m finally getting a handle on things. What about you, where to do you land in your reading world, and how do you nourish it?

63 responses to “IWSG 81: You Are What You Read–apparently

  1. I read widely like you, but I haven’t gone back to the classics. The fantasy week webinar sounds interesting since I write fantasy. I’ve been trying to go to more online writer conferences and book festivals online since the pandemic. It’s kind of a silver lining that there are a lot more opportunities when you can do them online vs. travel to an event.

  2. I read essays by Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, William James, and others. I like to read collected letters of historical figures from Abigail Adams, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, and others. Also like to read fiction from fantasy to detective novels. May March bring you only happy surprises

    • Reading essays, letters, etc. is a great idea to get into someone’s brain. Especially if they discuss their day-to-day lives and the news of their time. 🙂

  3. Hi,
    I download books from the Gutenberg Project too. Recently, I have started reading the Bronte Sisters’ books again. I don’t know how many times I have read them. Right now I am on Jane Eyre.
    Take care and have a lovely month of March.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  4. L. Diane Wolfe

    Are those videos still available?

  5. Loni Townsend

    I’ve actually got Janet Evanovich on my list to explore. I haven’t read her books, but they seem to be popular enough that I would give them a try. Maybe I’ll slot that in as my next read!

  6. We have several fave authors in common – going to add a couple to my list from here.
    I read widely as well although your Pratchett comment made me realize it’s been a long time since I visited his world and some of the other SFs I love!

  7. I caught several of those Fantasy Week Webinars too. Very interesting.

    You seem to be reading lots of books these days. I used to read more, but I fall asleep too easily when I read in bed. I miss the days when it used to take me hours to fall asleep at night.

  8. This is the first time in years that I “beat you” by reading and commenting on your post before you get to mine. My secret: I wrote my post last night. Usually, I do it all on the same day, more likely afternoon. 🙂

    And, another “fun” fact: I’m the only author who doesn’t read. So, no, I will NEVER read as much as you do. Even if I’d have or prioritize more reading time, it would still take me ages – compared to most readers – to finish a book. Too many distractions and other things in life I enjoy. If I manage to read a book a month – and believe me, I do enjoy reading – it would be a lot.

  9. I’m making progress too Anna. I see the end to the revision. I just don’t know when the amount of time I need will free up 🙂

  10. I seldom read classics nowadays – they feel too dated to me. Maybe I should revisit that stand and try again. After all, they are classics for a reason.

  11. I could live and die happy in a library. I will read almost anything. Love Pratchett, and I swear, James Patterson writes enough books to fill a lifetime. I love Alex Cross and the Women’s Murder Club crew. I’m grateful for my classical literature studies in college (a million years ago, it seems). It really did give me a rock solid foundation for reading and enjoying books of all genres.

  12. Just reading is a pleasure. If I’m between books, I clear out my stack of magazines. I never seem to have all the time I want to dive into a story or an article. Like Lee above me, I could live and die happy in a library.

  13. “You are what you read” hehe. I enjoyed Michael Connolly’s The Poet.

  14. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    Thanks for reminding me about the Gutenberg project, Anna. I had forgotten all about it. I’m glad to hear that you feel like you’re getting a handle on things! You’ve certainly been through it. take care!

  15. My darn day job gets in the way of all my reading and writing 🙂 But I still read a lot . . .and like you, I read a lot of different sorts of things. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

  16. helenmatheyhornbooks

    If I start reading, I really don’t want to put it down. I used to read fiction before bed, but then would find myself going to sleep about 5 AM, okay in the summer, but not good during the school year. So now I only read non-fiction before bed. It I can put down at any point and not feel like I’ve just got to find out what happens next. 🙂

  17. Rarely do I start anything new when I have projects to do as I tend to disappear for a couple days. I’m not one of those who can read just one chapter a day. Not quite all or nothing but close. Depends on the author.

    • I have a lot of time on my hands since covid hit and fill my days with as much as possible, so I don’t have to think about it. Reading is one way I do that. 🙂

  18. Our list of popular authors is similar. And I read before I fall asleep, also. A skilled editor and friend encourages me to circle unique phrases in (paper) book to help my writing. For the life of me, I can’t do it. I guess some childhood lessons are hard to relearn.
    ProWritingAidt has some excellent Webinars. I don’t know if it was ProWritingAid or AutoCrit, but I remember there was a Lee Child and one about writer’s block I’d love to find and listen to. My searches have been unsuccessful. Any suggestions?

  19. I’ve always read across genres and categories, but I notice I’m doing more of that since last year. I did hit a slump for a bit awhile back, and I am glad to be out of it now. 🙂

  20. Pratchett’s books are a fun read. I’m reading Wuthering Heights by Bronte right now. I’m finding much trouble keeping interested in the classic stories. I’m not sure if it’s their choice of language–always the hard way to say something–or if I’m getting lost in the time line. But I keep trying. Thanks for the tip about where to find more classics on the web. All best to you!

  21. Hi Anna, Glad I came across your post to re-connect. Seems like ages. Hey I love Evanovich too and fun kinds of mysteries–not blood and gutsy gore. I’m enjoying reading all kinds of genres too. My latest new favorite is Westerns. Makes sense cause I loved all the old Western movies when I was a kid. Bet you never heard of Rex Allen. Thanks for the links.
    JQ Rose

  22. I love how varied your reading diet is, which must be good for you, right? They say variety is the spice of life! 🙂

  23. Thanks for that link. Super cool! I love the classics. Yeah, my answer is similar to yours. I pretty much read anything and everything. I do have genres that are dearer to my heart by nature, but I’ll read whatever.

  24. Ahh – the classics. I read them a lot growing up and also while doing my BA in English Literature but haven’t had time of late because I’m so busy catching up on new books, books by authors I know, books from different genres recommended by friends. Thanks for the link – I’m going to check that out.

  25. I stick mostly to fantasy and sci-fi, but I do dabble in other genres if the story catches my attention.

  26. I’ve read a number of classics, my favs are Dracula and Frankenstien. Dickens and Austen didn’t quite hold my attention as Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley had done. Terry Prachett is great fun to read, glad to see him listed 😀

  27. I’ve tried reading the classics (again) and each time I’m reminded why I didn’t read them in the 1st place–boring. I’m sure I’ve scandalized you. Long paragraphs, no white space, endless descriptions. turn me off. I’ll keep trying to understand why they are classics. Meanwhile, I’ll keep reading in my comfort zone.

  28. I re-read War and Peace a few years ago, and what a good idea that was. I appreciated Tolski more in my golden years. He was an incredible writer. Anyway, I love your list. I think we’re fortunate to be readers and writers.

  29. The title of your post reminds me of a quite from the movie You’ve Got Mail. 🙂 I read widely, too. And love it!

  30. I read a lot of different things as well. I only write Sci-Fi, but I think reading lots of other genres helps keep me from sounding too similar to all the other Sci-Fi writers.

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