Writers Gotta Read


“I don’t have time to read.”


I recognize all the individual words, sure. But the order in which they’re strung together baffles me.

When I first encountered the sentiment, I’ll admit to some stereotyping—I assumed it was only uttered by non-writers. You know, those people. Not us. Then, there I was checking out the panel listing for a recent con. And one of the panels had that exact title.

All I’m going to say is, I 100% believe that if you don’t read, you can’t write.

Okay, sure. There have been times nothing on my TBR pile suited my mood or I’d temporarily burnt out on a genre, but there were always re-reads of perennial favorites, or trips to the library, or friends raving about this author I just *had* to try, or Amazon/B&N/BAM browsing sprees to rectify that situation. Because I also honestly believe most “I don’t have time,” laments really mean “There’s nothing here AT THE MOMENT that has caught my interest.”

In the spirit of helping my peeps out, this post is a curated list of favorite recent reads and exciting upcoming releases, put together by polling friends and from my own Goodreads TBR list. If any of you are in the got-nothing-to-read doldrums, hopefully something in here will tickle your fancy and spark your reading-inspiration again.

1. This.

This is my #1, can’t-wait-to-get-my-hands-on-it upcoming read. As in, I wanted this yesterday. Trail of Lightning is Native American Futurism/Contemporary Fantasy by Hugo/Locus/Campbell you name it award finalist and kickass Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo writer Rebecca Roanhorse.

I’m in all kinds of love with that cover, y’all.

Trail of Lighting by Rebecca Roanhorse



2. A fun anthology that looks at Solar Punk and global warming. World Weaver Press is also accepting submissions for a Diesal Punk anthology, FYI.

Glass and Gardens: Solar Punk



3. This is another YA/NA that I’ve been waiting, from a Pitch Wars peep.

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly DeVoes



4. Vampires are back, baby.

Raymond Vallareal, A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising


5. This is another Pitch Wars peep’s newest, a hot Hollywood cozy mystery and part of the Agatha Award winning Hollywood Homicide series by Kelley Garrett



6. This fantasy read is on *everyone’s* TBR pile.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi




7A. This series, y’all. I hate to see Kate Daniels end, but it’s been one heck of a ride. I’m also looking forward to Iron Magic because it’s fascinating to see how master storytellers turn a villain into an antihero.







8A. This is a lovely MG adventure by yet another Pitch Wars alum.

Missing Mike by Shari Green



8B. Another rich Upper MG debut, The Land of Yesterday, by K.A. Reynolds.


9. This is book two in a fascinating new UF series.

Bruja Born from the Brooklyn Brujas series by Zoraida Cordova



10. Deep Dark, a hacker-suspense, is part of the Tracers series by Laura Griffin.


11. This book.

This is a new release that’s blowing up the charts, a fantastic #ownvoices with an Autistic Spectrum heroine. And another Pitch Wars alum, this one one of my Mentee Big Sisters.


And finally, no way am I letting you go without plugging our Roaring Writers’ anthology, Chasing the Light.

If you guys have any must-read recommendations, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

Comments 7

  • Thanks for all the recommendations, Janet! So many good books out there. I’m currently reading a much older series – The Iron Druid Chronicles – from Kevin Hearnes and enjoying it immensely.

  • Thanks for fueling my TBR pile…and not in a “Fahrenheit 451” way, Janet:)

  • I’d say that “I don’t have time to read” is more rightly “I don’t have time to read a lot.” Between a day job and a regular writing schedule, I’m working 10 to 12 hours a day, and that definitely doesn’t leave much time to read. Then again, I end up doing a lot of beta for my Local writing group, so I definitely read a lot. In terms of reading published books, I get my time in on my breaks at work. It may be only about 30 minutes a day, but I still get it in. I’ve been reading Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey lately. It’s an odd one, especially since it has no chapters, but damn is his writing good. And if you need a lesson in voice, he’s your guy.

  • […] few months ago, Janet blogged on how Writers Gotta Read. Read and keep reading is advice writers are told repeatedly. Many of us shake our heads at the […]

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