I recently received an invite from a book blogger to participate in a fundraiser for the Sonoma County Library. Along with my acceptance, I invited her to read PASSING LOVE. The blogger responded that she normally reads/reviews 75++ books per year—a feat that’s been mightily stumped by her 10-month-old. Whew!

In high school, I took a speed-reading class, but that skill is only a memory (like high school). Afterward, without fail, and for the longest time, I checked page count before I began a book. Finishing in record time was as important as reading. I remember trying a marathon read of Beloved—fool that I was. Even after my third, very slow read, I still work hard to unravel that novel.

It’s difficult for me to read fiction while I’m writing. I don’t want to be influenced by another writer’s style or topic. But, at heart, I’m a reader and I need to read. Now I read slowly, savoring words and the turn of a phrase. Come a rainy or gloomy weekend, latte in hand, I speed through a mystery or thriller. It’s heaven. But for me, heaven (part of it) is reading.

Revisions, playwriting, and more revisions filled my 2011. I did find time to read. Here are some of my favorites.

Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Zafron Ruiz
Murder in the Palais Royal, Cara Black
One False Move, Harlan Coben
Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones
The Story of Beautiful Girl, Rachel Simon
Uptown, Deberry and Grant
Wading Home, Rosalyn Story
The Age of Dreaming, Nina Revoyr
French Lessons, Ellen Sussman
Children of the Waters, Carleen Brice
When the Thrill is Gone, Walter Mosley
Sag Harbor, Colson Whitehead
Rattlebone, Maxine Clair
The Taste of Salt, Martha Southgate

What books did you enjoy in 2011? Did you discover any new writers?

Wishing you joyous holidays and a wonderful 2012!