The Reading Conundrum

When I got my first publishing deal back in 2013 I found that when I was writing to a deadline it was difficult to keep up with my reading. This reading conundrum is something many writers suffer from…

  • When I’m writing I’m always slightly worried that if I read books in the same genre that they will subconsciously influence me.
  • Yet all authors are advised to read widely in order to keep up with what’s being published.

To address these difficulties I made sure that when I was writing fantasy, I read science fiction, and when I was writing science fiction I read fantasy or historical novels. That kept me happy for a few years, but gradually I’ve eased up on my own self-imposed rule. There are too many great books out there to limit what I allow myself to read.

GollanczSince 2009, I’ve blogged every book I’ve read, not on this blog (where I mostly blog about writing) but on my Dreamwidth blog at This has several advantages. Firstly it introducers people to books they may not have considered, and secondly it forms a database to help me remember book details. I so wish I’d done it decades ago.

I’ve always been a science fiction and fantasy reader. I my teens I read (from the local library) everything I saw which had one of those Gollancz yellow jackets. Oh boy, I do wish I’d been doing writeups then. I read a lot of the classics (which I was probably too young for at the time) but sadly very few of them have stayed in my brain.

Battersea BarricadesSo my advice is not only to read, but to keep track of what you read and even if you don’t do reviews, jot down something which will jog your memory five years from now; ten years from now. Go on… you’ll be glad you did.

Having said that, though I’ve been reading, I’ve had a lapse and I now need to catch up with this year’s book blogging. My reading is fifteen books ahead of my blogging. I promise to catch up soon. My random 2018 reading includes historicals by Julia Quinn, Ella Quinn, Danielle Harmon, and Sheila Walsh, a couple of delightful St Mary’s offerings by the wonderful Jodi Taylor (one novel, one short story), Patricia Briggs’ latest Alpha and Omega novel, the first Lindsey Davis Falco novel, and a couple of history books (non-fiction) by Peter Ackroyd.



About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (, the secretary of Milford SF Writers (, a singer ( and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers ( She's also a Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration department licensed sponsor processing UK work permits (Certificates of Sponsorship).
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7 Responses to The Reading Conundrum

  1. Jules Jones says:

    The yellow jackets were a joy to me in the library of my youth. 🙂

    I have been sorely remiss in book blogging over the last few years, but I really must make an effort to do so. As you say, it’s useful for remembering stuff about the books I’ve read. I occasionally find it interesting for seeing how my response to a book has changed over the passage of time – not least but not always the attentions of the Suck Fairy.

    • Jacey Bedford says:

      There are some books I’m frightened to read again in case the sucks fairy has visited in the intervening thirty years.

  2. sjhigbee says:

    Adrian has written a range of excellent books, I’m just in the middle of the third book in his shape-shifting trilogy Echoes of the Fall and there aren’t very many insects in that one… And I completely agree with your enthusiasm for the awesome Jodi Taylor time-travelling escapades:)

  3. Jacey Bedford says:

    I love Adrian’s writing, though not being all that keen on insects is a bit tricky. I just read his novella, Ironclads which has zero insects in it, so yay! Excellent.

  4. C. J. Jessop says:

    I just picked up an Adrian Tchaikovsky book, purely based on his being such a good sport at the ‘Men in Fantasy’ panel. That and it looked interesting.

    I have a lot of reading coming up, none of it being spec fic so I’m making the most of my reading time now!

    • Jacey Bedford says:

      I love Adrian’s writing, though not being all that keen on insects is a bit tricky. I just read his novella, Ironclads which has zero insects in it, so yay! Excellent.

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