I know ‘binge-ing’ is a familiar term now. Binge eating; binge drinking; binge watching.
I’m a binge reader. In a couple of different ways.
First, just like binge-watching when I like a show, and I want to just consume the entire series as quickly as possible, if I read a great book by an author, I get the urge to read everything that author has written; not just books in a certain series, but just all of their work, story continuity or not. So when it comes to my favorite authors, just like when a new season of Stranger Things or Great British Bake Off pops up on Netflix, I just read and read and read. I’ve read Toni Morrison and Augusten Burroughs and Alice Walker and Barbara Kingsolver and John Green and Nick Hornby and Rebecca Wells and Kurt Vonnegut this way. I’ve read most of these authors’ work because I just tore through their sections in the library after reading the first book I discovered of theirs. The first book I read from each author was…
Toni Morrison: Song of Solomon
Augusten Burroughs: Running With Scissors
Alice Walker: The Color Purple
Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible
John Green: The Fault in Our Stars
Nick Hornby: High Fidelity
Rebecca Wells: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five
I’ve now read four or more books by these authors. When someone asks me for a favorite writer, I usually list a few of these folks, unless they’ve asked me immediately after I’ve finished a great book by someone else…maybe someone new I just read one piece from.
But the other way I binge-read is like binge-eating. Sometimes, I can go months…I’ve even gone almost a year…without eating refined carbohydrates (white bread; white sugar; white pasta…). But then if J brings home a dozen donuts, I’ll eat 5. I get in spurts where I read like that too, especially when I’m working on writing something myself. I went almost a year not finishing any books except for the ones I read with The Boy out loud (and a couple of those were Harry Potter books I’d read before too), but then…all of a sudden…in June…I consumed 5 books back to back. And they were all great. And one of them is co-written by two authors I suspect will turn out to be ‘now I have to read all of the things by this person’ writers.
The books I’ve finished in the past 6 weeks are:
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (read the book…the show is awesome, but just…read the book…I even want the book of the stage notes from the show now)
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Now, I plan to read You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, and Receiver of Many by Rachel Alexander, based on recommendations from friends.
It might take me another year to finish those books though…because…I need to start writing again soon. I hope all of you read books and find some you love and maybe find a writer’s work you love so much you want to binge them. I’m not suggesting I’m that great of a storyteller…but if you’re interested in binge reading MY work, here it is.