300 Books Per Year

Reading 300 Books A Year?

Three months ago, I wrote a post called Journeys, Detours, and Destinations highlighting how I came to this place in my life as an author and photographer and where I want to go.

Since that time, I established a routine of sharing new short stories every Monday and photography at the end of each week on this website. I am also writing and editing a few longer projects which will be coming out later, a prospect that makes me both excited and nervous.

In the meantime, I have decided to add a third post to the website most (not all) weeks on Wednesdays. The goal will be to share some of my journey as an author and photographer. To be successful and fun, the Wednesday post needs to be very interactive, so feel free to comment, ask questions, and even suggest future topics.

To kick things off, I thought I would spend a few minutes talking about an important part of being an author – reading. And, yes, there are questions for you at the end, dear reader.

300 books. Reading 300 books in one year. Nearly a book every day. Can you imagine?

Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series, was recently quoted as saying he reads 300 books a year. The point he was making was that authors need to read – and read a lot – in order to be good authors. Since reading is a major foundation to good writing, no wonder his books are so good.

I compared that to my own track record. So far in 2017, I have read 55 books, on pace to read almost 100 books this year. Pales in comparison to Lee Child, but more than I have done in a long time.

As a teenager, I used to read voraciously and quite widely. My favorite books from those years remain some of my favorite books today – S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (two of the best character names ever – Ponyboy and Sodapop) and Stephen King’s The Stand. Both are books that I have read several times – worlds I suspect I will visit a few more times over the coming years.

After college, during my time in corporate America, I found my travel and work schedule crowding out my pleasure reading. For a couple of decades, I don’t remember reading any novels at all, though I read hundreds – if not thousands – of contracts. Hardly a suitable substitution.

Now I’m trying to make up for lost time.

Of the 55 books I have read so far this year, 49 of them are by just five authors. I am trying to catch up on all the books they wrote while I was working so hard, making up for lost time.

At 16 books, John Grisham (last read Sycamore Row) leads this year’s pack. He is followed by David Baldacci (Stone Cold) at 13 books and Michael Connelly (City of Bones – an excellent Harry Bosch detective story) with 11. The new author I have started is Lisa Gardner (Survivor’s Club) with her dark books about chasing serial killers, hardly a light read, though I have completed six books. And, finally, I have read three of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series (Tripwire) with a fourth in my hands right now.

I expect by the end of the year that I will be caught up with each of these authors. In addition, I will have read the latest from Stephen King (Sleeping Beauties written with his son, Owen, out in September) and Dean Koontz (Silent Corner already out and Whispering Room releasing in November), two of my favorite horror authors. Next up on my list is to catch up with Robin Cook and Nevada Barr.

My favorite non-fiction book of the year? Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind:Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion, probably the best explanation of our political divide I have seen.

So question for you dear reader, who are authors that I need to explore? How many books a year are you reading? Do you get to read as much as you want? What are your favorite all-time books? And what are you reading right now?

P.S. – I am currently reading Michael Connelly’s Chasing the Dime.

NOTE – The book links in this article are all Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase via those links, I receive a small commission from Amazon though it does not affect your price in any way. Feel free to search for the books on your own if you prefer not to use my affiliate links.

The featured image in today’s post is licensed under Creative Commons: 0.0 License via pexels.com


  1. Pamela Hendricks on August 2, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I used to read so much I kept a card catalog. Last name, first, then date read and one to 3 stars for how well I liked the book, then my initials. My gf ,her mom and my step mom used to trade a lot of books back and forth. We all would initial on page 69 ( easy number to remember) so we would know who to pass it on to next. And if I found a good book in a thrift store, I could easily check to see if I had already read it. I counted one year and I had read 420 books in one year. Yes I LOVE to read. Now I read on my Kindle, and a lot of free and one time authors so I stopped the card catalog. I still have it tho. I read in all genre’s, I’m currently on a True life serial killer kick. Currently reading Evil Women by John Marlowe . Also there are so many books to read I’ve learned not to waste my time on bad ones or something I really can’t get into so I allow myself to stop at page 69 and start a new book

    • D.K. Wall on August 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Makes sense. I have a page 50 rule for new authors. Hook me by the 50th page, or I move on.

  2. Mary Ann Molenda on August 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I am addicted to James Patterson I don’t read nearly as much as I know I should . I am doing good with a book a month on average

  3. Carrie (and Amarok) on August 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    So hard to try to make this succinct. I read a lot, would have to actually take time to figure out how many books I read a year. It helps because I take public transportation to work so can read to and from work. So love fantasy, crime, some sci fi and then just general fiction (every once a while a nonfiction book). Just finished Arcadia by James Treadwell. Authors I would suggest: John Connolly (Charlie Parker series) – dark, often gruesome and also supernatural thrown in; I also love his YA stuff especially The Gates, and The Book of Lost Things. Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Lev Grossman (The Magicians), Dennis Lehane (crime), Kate Atkinson (Life After Life and her Jackson Brodie series), Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods), Jim Butcher (Dresden files), William Gibson, Michael Harvey (crime set in Chicago), Peter May (The Black House/The Lewis Man/The Chess Men), Dan Simmons (horror and scifi/fantasy), Martin Cruz Smith (Arkady Renko series set in Russia). That’s all I can think of right now.

  4. Deborah on August 4, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I love discussing books with people. It’s one of my favorite things about working in a library. I shoot for 50 a year and normally go a little over that. I usually have an book on audio in my car and then have a physical book I’m reading and sometimes have a book going on my e-reader also. I enjoy the same authors you mentioned and also John Sandford (Lucas Davenport series and Virgil Flowers series), Harlan Coben (especially like his stand alone novels), Jonathan Kellerman (Dr. Alex Delaware series), Sue Grafton (Kinsey Milhone alphabet series), and J.T. Ellison (Taylor Jackson series set in Nashville). One book that I have to mention is “KillFile” by Christopher Farnsworth. This was recommended to me last year and really enjoyed it. It’s about a guy who can access other people’s thoughts. I haven’t read the second in the series but it’s “Flashmob”. I’m currently reading “Crime Scene” by Jonathan Kellerman and his son, Jesse Kellerman. Happy Reading!

  5. Sylv on August 4, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I spend an hour both ways commuting by train, so get a lot of reading done. Actually, I get audio books from the library, so is it still “reading”? Besides that I usually have a book on my Kindle, and a book on my phone in the Kindle app. Both books currently cued up are nothing to “write home about”, if you pardon the expression :).

    I’m frugal and do not want to buy books that I can get for free, unless I really like the author and just can’t wait. That means I often have to wait for popular books, and in the meantime I’ll select something from the “available now” list. Currently I’m listening to The Assistants by Camille Perri, which is a fun read. I also discovered “Room” by Emma Donoghue this way. As for good series – I have enjoyed the “In Her Name” science fiction series by Michael Hicks.

  6. Cindy H on August 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I love to read & always have. I read for pleasure, to recharge, to wind down before going to sleep, to expand my mind & to gain knowledge. At times I will become hooked on an author and/or a book series & will want to read everything “now”!

    A few years ago was curious about how much I read and I started keeping an excel spreadsheet of the books I read, page count totals & the books I want. I guess that I like to be organized & an excel spreadsheet seemed to make the most sense at the time. I had decided to count pages I read as book sizes can vary plus I also decided to only count books & not magazines or other material. I recently heard something about how many books a year successful people read (can’t remember the number though it may be a minimum of 50) & with now reading this post I’ve updated my spreadsheet to include the book count. Anyhoo, this year so far I have read 30 books for 12,626 pages. Last year I read 73 books for a total of 25,025 pages.

    Right now I am re-reading It by Stephen King & as it can be a little intense I am also reading The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel by Mitch Albom. Recently I finished all the Jack Reacher books up to the latest Night School & like other similar type of books. I read dog books (recently re-read Teresa J Rhyne’s The Dog Lived (and So Will I) & The Dogs Were Rescued (and So Was I ) & Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote was one of my favorites), supernatural stories (Karen Marie Moning Fever series & Deborah Harness All Souls Trilogy both recommended by my sister), biographies (Maya Angelou, Jimmy Carter’s A Full Life, Sara Novic’s Girl at War, Drew Barrymor’s Wildflower are few so far this year). I also keep going back to No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay. I love Stephen King & some of my favorite books are The Talisman with Peter Straub & the Dark Tower series. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I also like books by Maclcolm Gladwell (I like the audio versions of his books while driving) & I really enjoyed Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I read a wide variety of books though haven’t seem to become too interested in much science fiction. I share books with my sister & a few friends. I have a Kindle & while e-books can be useful I prefer paper books to be able to share. Plus the feel, texture & sometimes smell of a book just enhances the whole experience and an e-book just can’t do all that. I loved Borders & was crushed when they closed and while they weren’t my favorite I support Barnes & Noble as I don’t want bookstores to disappear. I’ll go to small independent bookstores especially when traveling & I support our local library.

    Books have brought so much pleasure to my life. They entertain, make me think & transport me to different places & times. I can become lost in a book & don’t quite understand people who don’t like to read.

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