I Read, I Write, and My Daughter Does Arithmetic

My twelve-year-old daughter crafted a way to bolster reading time.

Why does my reading time matter to me?

Readers know when authors don’t study.

We all know the books written by men and women with no interest in literacy. The book has no hope of lasting works defined as genius, and there’s no motive other than a bit of an ever-diminishing paycheck. These stories litter the shelves of both general and Christian market.

Of course, you write works of genius. That’s why you read books. And read Novel Rocket. And read Peter Leavell novels.

Reading, to an author, is more important than writing.

What happens when you don’t read? Is there danger in not feeding fiction plotlines into your brain? What does it matter if you don’t study interesting characters of biography? What if the ‘little gray cells’ never grapple with the fascinating biosphere of nonfiction?

Or more harshly said—can you live in a vacuum filled with fellow lifeless drones who strive for their next phone and reproduce nothing other than artless humanism?

If you need an excuse to read more, here’s your stamp of vindication on your timecard—your writing is shallow when you don’t read.

The thought’s brutal, but your characters, plotlines, and the worlds they live in are only as brilliant as you. And you’re not getting any smarter unless you’re reading.

Reading expands your thinking. Reading bolsters your writing skill. Reading strengthens your writing voice.

My daughter made 10 bookmarks, numbered 1 through 10.

My crafty daughter!

Any given book I should be able to finish in ten days. When I divide a 300 page book by 10, I place the first bookmark at page 30, the second at page 60, third at page 90, and if you don’t get the pattern yet, read a math book. Marker 10 is on the last page, unless the book is over 400 pages, then I divide the total pages by 11 and give myself an extra day.

If life is going smooth, I’ll be reading three books at a time. I rarely read over the bookmark, unless the book is so compelling I can’t help myself, or I’m close to finishing a chapter.

I also keep one nonfiction history with 1000 or more pages I read, simply when I need a history fix. I have 10 markers, but 1 represents the first year. Ha!

Happy reading!

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. www.peterleavell.com.