42: Read more sci-fi and fantasy

#42 read more sci-fi/fantasy

This was originally a different number, but it’s my list, and I’ve had most of a week to play with it, so I do what I want. (I will say that if you aren’t sure of the reason for this change, this may not be your joy.)

Ritual breakdown:

Because…there’s something about reading sci-fi and fantasy, isn’t there?

It’s a different kind of escape.

The joy of fantasy is that while it has all the elements of the life you know, it contains virtually none of the realities. Either the timeline is different, or the material reality is, and it creates a true diversion for your brain. You can fully immerse yourself in this other world, and count yourself grateful that it’s not the one you currently inhabit.

And in fact, that’s typically what we love about it so much. Harry Potter is amazing because of Hogwarts and Hermione, sure, but you know the very best part about it? You aren’t Harry. It’s a relief not to be the Boy Who Lived, the lamb for slaughter, the kid with so much loss it’s palpable. And that makes your terrible life so much easier to cope with.

But, sometimes it can be hard to find time for fantasy.

We feel vaguely guilty, because shouldn’t we be reading a business book, or self-help, or something?

How to fit in more of this:

My favorite trick for getting in more reading is to remove Facebook from my phone and put the Kindle app directly in its place. That way, when I try to go to FB by rote memory, I open a book instead.

I also started reading fiction in the mornings. There are lots of daylight hours for learning. My mornings are my time to escape for a while before I do my day. I’m always so much happier when I’ve got a great book waiting for me in the morning.

And that’s the most important part of reading more often.

Cultivate your reading lists.

Add to your TBR pile.

Make reading amazing stories more accessible, and you’ll find the time.

Personal Notes:

Some of my favorites: Douglas Adams, Jacqueline Carey, NK Jemisin, Blake Crouch, AG Riddle, Robin Hobb, VE Schwab (using your initials doesn’t necessarily make you good, just FYI).

I also have ridiculous “rules” that I apply to reading that make me happy. Feel free to make your own.

  • No unfinished series. I created this rule when Alice Borchardt tragically died in the middle of her series about Guinevere, and there are untold authors just proving me right these days. Martin, Rothfuss, etc. Unless you’re okay with incomplete stories, wait until they’re actually all written.
  • Watch the movie first. It’s always worse, so the book will only ever be an improvement.
  • Unless it’s a series, I don’t read two in a row by the same author.
  • I no longer finish books that don’t keep my interest. If I’m not sold by page 30, I’m out.

Final Thoughts:

A while back, I did some math (and my math is always bad, but even so, it was sobering math). I average about 50 books a year. That’s a little less than a book a week. Goodreads tells me so.

If I look at the average lifespan of the women in my family, I have approximately 3,000 books left in my lifetime to read. If I take the lifespan of an average American woman, it’s a little more than 2,000. That’s not that many. There are some really important books I haven’t read yet that I still want to read.

But not so badly that I’ll force myself to read a book that I don’t enjoy. That’s just not worth my time anymore.

Now, tell me who your favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors are, because I can always take a few more good books.

About the author 


Briar Harvey is a storyteller and systems witch. She believes that everything has a story and exists within a system. The trick then, is figuring out how to change the rules, and tell a better story. You can hear her talk about systems twice a week on her live radio show, Ask Briar. You can also listen to her talk about terrible kids movies on the podcast Latchkey Movies.

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