What We’ve Been Reading


By David S. Atkinson

I have to apologize; I haven’t been reading much in the last two weeks. Considering what has been going on, I think it’s understandable. I’ve only read four books in the last 14 days. That may be a decent amount for the general population who haven’t read a book since college or even high school, but for me it’s almost inexcusable. After all, I read 318 books last year (some of them short as A Christmas Carol, some as long as The Tale of Genji, but the rest were around 200-300 pages apiece).

As I said, though, the reason for my lack of reading is a good one: I’ve been writing. I have a tendency to read endlessly and neglect doing anywhere near enough writing on my own. See the reference above to the number of books I read last year. In the same time period, I only wrote maybe seven short stories and did revisions on others. I did do a number of book reviews and other such things, but I was definitely not doing enough writing in favor of reading the writing of others. Now, I think it is important for writers to read, but there are limits. At some point, we have to sit down and write.

I have probably already corrected this issue for this year. On the 14th of this month, I started reading Donald Antrim’s The Verificationist based on a recommendation from Joseph Michael Owens.* To summarize quickly, I loved the book. However, you can read more about that on my Goodreads review here, since I want to talk about something else in this post.

What happened is that The Verificationist gave me an idea for a novel of my own. It’s really got nothing to do with The Verificationist, but I got the idea while reading. For once, OCD worked in my favor. I spent the 15th jotting notes for what I was going to do and completing a book review I had yet outstanding. On the 16th, I started writing. At 1:50 PM today (01/29/12) Mountain Standard Time, I finished the first draft. The draft is 203 handwritten pages, though 36 of those are only partial pages since they end sections. It may be a short novel, but it likely is a novel, nonetheless. I don’t know what the word count is since I write in longhand and type later, but my best estimate is a little over 50,000 words, all written in 14 days.

Now, I don’t know whether I have anything good. My brain is too frazzled right now to be able to tell. I’ll have to type it up and see what Joe thinks. Maybe I have something. Maybe I have 203 pages of handwritten garbage. We’ll have to see. With any luck, maybe you will get to find out as well.


*Who, himself, was inspired to read The Verificationist based on Matthew Daddona’s InDigest review here.


David Atkinson David Atkinson

David S. Atkinson is the author of "Bones Buried in the Dirt" (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80K) and "The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes" (EAB Publishing). His writing appears in "Bartleby Snopes," "Grey Sparrow Journal," "Interrobang?! Magazine," "Atticus Review," and others. His website is http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/ and he spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.

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