Are You An 'Intentional Reader'?

Saturday, May 31, 2008
By Jill Earl

Not too long ago, I came across a too-long forgotten article that really got me thinking about what and how I read. Titled, ‘The Intentional Reader’, author Bob Hostetler discusses what he calls his “Writer’s Reading Plan”, where he sets a goal to read a perdetermined number of books annually.

A few of the categories Mr. Hostetler included in his reading plan are biography, memoir, classics, writing, poetry, children’s and history. He always makes sure that his selections are from a number of genres, authors and forms, while allowing for flexibility to add and delete categories as his interests change.

His goals are not to only read for pleasure, broaden his horizons, and become familiar with his particular genre and others, but improve the quality of his writing.

Like many writers, I do a substantial amount of reading throughout the year and attempt to read a number of genres and authors. My list seems a bit hit-or-miss at times, though. So I really appreciate Mr. Hostetler's plan, and have started using it myself.

The “Writer’s Reading Plan” can be found at

How about you? Do you have your own reading plan? Has it helped you improve your writing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Shelli said...

My ritual is to read for pleasure each night before bed. (Helps me sleep too.) I am such a slow reader that I only read a handful of books each year, I think. Lately I've been trying to read what is already on my bookshelf instead of buying more books! I don't know that I read a wide variety of genres, but I've been trying to read more books by men. I usually prefer women authors. I'm also reading more short stories. My husband came with shelves full of books that I'm raiding too. There I find many gems that I probably would never have picked myself. Last year I started a book journal on my website too.

As a writer, I try to be more conscious of how other writer's write - their diction and how they handle certain situations. It's the best teacher, I think.

Marcia Peterson said...

I'm a voracious reader, but without a plan. I need to try more fiction, I think. I added more poetry lately and it does offer something new and intersting.

I can see how rounding out your program would offer benefits.

Cher'ley said...

I read a lot. In many different genres and age groups. My favorite book is the Bible. It's always new and fresh.

My office has floor to ceiling bookshelves on 3 walls and I also have floor to ceiling bookshelves in my guestroom. I have books in every closet and the garage + the bookcases in my bedroom. I have read most of them or plan on reading the ones I haven't read yet.

I have all kinds of how-to art books and videos as well. Now I have a pretty good collection of how-to write books too.

I did good this week. I gave away 4 books that I finished last week. But I went to the library and checked out about a dozen children's books. At least I have to take those back. LOL

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