Reading in Order to Write

NOTE: This originally posted on Jay Wilburn (the site, not the man himself).

by JL Koszarek

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write;
a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
—Samuel Johnson


September 2nd, 2016

I’m staring at books stacked on the cold stone hearth of my summer rental cabin. Joshua Hood’s Warning Order is neatly sandwiched between Greg Ilse’s The Bone Tree and a book called Early Bird by Rodney Rothman. The latter, a gift from friends.

Over the Independence Day holiday, I drove up to Fort Collins, Colorado along with my husband, Phil and our constant canine companion, Cleo to check out Thad David’s and our daughter, Korine’s new home. We had a great time! Fort Collins is a great town that I hope you all have the time to visit someday. While there, we drove to Denver for Brad Thor’s signing of his new release Foreign Agent. This meant that I must purchase ALL of his books so that he could sign them, which he gladly did. As a result, I have an empty beer case box that I found at our local recycling center full of his books among others that I’ll ship back to our gulf coast home before we leave in a few days. Reconfiguring the overflowing bookshelves at The Pretty Cottage to accommodate my box of books keeps me awake nights. Such are things when you’re a bibliophile. I am blessed to have such first-world problems. I won’t bore you with my Kindle cue or my Audible list.

I’ve been reading even as my stack of unread books grows. Clear by Fire by Joshua Hood, Foreign Agent by Brad Thor, and The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss, and a monster of a nonfiction thing called The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington (according to my Kindle, I’m 31% along). I’ve been poking around my subscriptions of The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poets and Writers along with the half dozen newspapers I subscribe to. All of this between tennis matches and tournaments, day trips, cooking, and entertaining cabin guests. Then the Olympics hit and I was riveted. So many back stories, so much athletic talent.

And, of course there are the presidential campaigns and the social media black hole that goes with them. What an interesting and addictive foray!

It’s been a curious summer; not one for much writing, but a lot of reading, introspection, and gaining perspective.


With summer winding down, it’s time to get back to work. Today, I spent time exploring marketing opportunities for Divide Then Conquer. Tomorrow perhaps I’ll get going again on the second book in our series called Illusion of Power. I’ve not turned over a “half a library”, but the unread books beckon just as the faint yellow tinge of the rain dampened aspen leaves that sparkle in the sun.


Angel Fire, NM