Did a bit of math last night. Assuming the average book page has 250 words, and I'm going through at one hundred pages a day, not counting extra reading and audiobooks, just how much reading am I doing?
Note that I give myself two weeks or so off for the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and other travel, so let's say I'm going to read 35,000 pages this year.
That is the equivalent of reading the bible every month, month after month, year after year.
So what happens to the brain?
—I can read anywhere. I am not distracted. Reading is now Thing #1 to my brain.
—I can detect voice much, much better than ever I could before. Not only can I readily tell the difference between any two writers; I can tell the difference between early Writer X and late Writer X.
—I need to read early in the day. If I wait to read until late in the day my eyeballs fall out. I need to start reading by six in the morning. I also need to see my eye doctor more frequently. I have reading glasses, but wearing them makes me fall asleep.
—My brain is completely addicted to constant reading. I just finished Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr., a great American novel that is actually a great American novel. Setting out across this vast work, feeling Fitzgerald's boats beating back against the tide, I learn writing, I learn voice, I learn the story of my nation, the story of my however-many-times great grandfather Henry William Clark, corporal of Company F of the 27th Connecticut Volunteers who fought at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg...
I learn to read again.