Deb Joanne’s Really Revolutionary Reading Resolutions

I’ve never been the kind of person to make resolutions because, if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I need to be really mentally ready to do something before I can commit to it and that kind of mental readiness is almost never determined by a date on a calendar.

So I really struggled with this post, because I’ve already conquered the quit smoking thing (March of ’99) and have been eating healthy since last January, so there isn’t a whole lot left that I could think of that I wanted to change about my life/lifestyle that I could really commit to.

Until it hit me; I’ve been lazy about my reading. Not to say I don’t read, because I do, and as a matter of fact, I think I read more books this past year than I ever have, but I’m not reading some of the books I really should be reading. My issue is that when I sit down to read, I really want to escape, and nothing takes me out of my life quite as well as a steamy Elizabeth Hoyt book or an equally steamy J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood novel.  But as I continue down the road towards publication and working towards being a career writer, I still need to work on my craft and become even more familiar with the genres I write in. As many of you know, I didn’t set out to write middle grade books, so I haven’t read a ton of them as an adult.

So, here is my resolution and feel free to check back with me next December to see how well I did (I am actually putting a note in my calendar right now to check in on myself).

Along with a ton of other books coming out by friends, Debs and my fellow Class of 2k12 debut authors, I will definitely read the following books this year:

HATCHET by Gary Paulsen – this one came highly recommended and is a Newbery Honor Book that has sold a bajillion copies. If that isn’t enough reason, here’s the short description: After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the Canadian wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents’ divorce. Hells, yeah, it’s set in CANADA!


HOLES by Louis Sachar – I’ve actually read/heard several times that this is the quintessential middle grade book and it seems those who give out awards agree. From Holes is a 1998 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the 1999 Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 1999 Newbery Medal. Wow, that’s some pretty impressive hardware. And apparently it’s very funny, and seeing as I do try to write funny, reading other peoples funny books is always a good idea.


SAVE THE CAT! The Last book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder – I’ve read most of this one, but then a new Elizabeth Hoyt novel came out and I abandoned it. I need to re-read and finish it because it’s a great craft book on story structure and the chronic pantster in me can always use a little help in this arena. Case in point: I recently had to write a book proposal and trying to figure out the end (and middle, really) before writing the book made me break out into a cold sweat. I managed to do it in the end, but it nearly killed me. So yeah, I could use to brush up on my plotting/structure skills.

NAKED AT THE PODIUM – The Writer’s Guide to Successful Readings by Peter V.T. Kahle and Melanie Workhoven – this one came highly recommended by another author and is pretty self-explanatory.  Since my book comes out in six months (although it’s now available for pre-order) this read is actually at the top of my list. I am determined not to faint or vomit at most signings, so some serious public speaking prep is necessary.


BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott – I’ve read this one in its entirety before, but need to read it again now that I actually will be published and have a slightly different take on the business than I did when I first picked it up.  I freaking love this book and recommend it to

ANY writer, not just because of the practical advice, but because it’s damn funny and who couldn’t use a laugh when thinking about this business?

So there, there’s my short, humble (and easily doable) list of books that I resolve to read this year.  I’ll do it. I swear I will.

And I just checked: Elizabeth Hoyt doesn’t have another book coming out until June, so I should be good to go.

10 Replies to “Deb Joanne’s Really Revolutionary Reading Resolutions”

  1. Oh, you MUST read HOLES! It’s a fantastic book. And then (but only then) watch the movie. It really captures the atmosphere of book perfectly. Loved them both.

  2. Ah Bird By Bird – given to me be two amazing writers as we strolled New York City – Pat Wood and Holly Kennedy. I’ve lent it to other writers too. I’d like to read the Steve Jobs book this year. Happy 2012 Debs!

    1. As a writer with an excellent sense of humor, I would expect you to love Bird by Bird, Kim. And I definitely think there’s great stuff in there than any writer can take away. Happy 2012 to you as well!

  3. Count me in for BIRD BY BIRD too–it’s been on my TBR pile for WAY too long. I think we can make this a team effort, Joanne–and by the way, a high five on quitting smoking. Not an easy thing to do. Kudos to you, dear.

    1. Oh you must read it, Erika. SOON, please, so we can discuss. It’s so much more than just a craft book.
      And thank you for the quitting smoking kudos. I can now say I’ve been smoke-free for longer than I smoked, which feels pretty good.

  4. So Sorry for being late but the Sunny South and my laptop are not getting along well today.

    Now a Happy New Year to all the Debs and a good year for all and your books. I too am going to get back to reading all the books sitting on my Kindle starting at the pool here in Florida (that is after shopping in all the malls for all of the bargins, yep Joanne already bought a pair of boots and I have only been here a day, oh I forgot we drove down stopped along the way at a few shopping spots, bargins were not good enough). I to stopped smoking 11 years ago (boy I miss it but no I will not start up again Well only kidding).So have a good week Debs and I will be reading all the posts this week. Have a good one.

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