NaNoReMo: how many novels will you read this month?

The piles of books by my desk, by my bed, and in the rest of my apartment are legendary. One of my cousins once said staying with me was like camping out at the New York Public Library.

These days my Kindle also holds a huge stash of fiction, including eight books checked out from my local library this week (thanks for enabling the addiction, Mr. Bezos!).

Between now and Thanksgiving, I'm making a determined effort to reduce the piles. Because, despite predictions of friends, I'd rather not die in the next earthquake crushed by an avalanche of 19th century to 21st century fiction.

But, wait, say my friends, aren't you NaNoWriMoing this year? Well, yes, I am. Like past years, I may not finish a novel in a month, but it's a great way to kick off a project.

Another great way to polish the writing, hone the craft, and perfect the plot is to read. Good stuff, bad stuff, old stuff, new stuff. Doesn't matter. Writing fiction is like any art: you have to practice. Like ballet dancers warming up at the barre, reading a story or a novel starts the creative muscles stretching. You think: "Hm, that's not how I'd tell this tale." Or "I like that transition." Or (as happens to me so often) "Why did the muses bless that writer with such a wonderful flow of words? I must tell the world about them! And go forth and collect all their books until they overflow my bookshelves and threaten to crush me in the next earthquake."

Yes, it is dangerous to read -- at least if you want to live in a reasonably tidy space -- but it's inspiring too. So enjoy November. I'll be here, wri moing, re moing, and having a wonderful time.


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