Okay, now I know as a writer, one good habit is reading a lot. And had you asked me during high school, how many books I read for fun, I couldn't tell you, because there were so many. In college, my response would be X number fun books over the summer, because I didn't have time during the semesters.
I have been out of college since this past May and if you'd asked me the day I graduated how many books I figured on reading between then and now, I would not have been able to give you a more specific response than, "So many I couldn't count them."
That is not the case, unfortunately. As far as fiction novels go, I started and got about half-way through Kate Elliott Crown of star series (I'm still reading and enjoying them), read Lackey's "Mad Maudlin." What I do is read fantasy, but not in the same subgenre as I'm currently writing in (so reading an urban fantasy while writing something set in a medieval-type land). I've also read some books that technically fall under YA fantasy (but I sometimes think my style lends itself well to YA, so I can use the excuse that it's research as well), and... I don't know. I read some humor nonfiction stuff, some research-y books. But what I read most was manga. Since around Christmas of 2005, I have been devouring manga.
When my brother got a job at a bank, there was a bigger library nearby with a larger manga section (versus the tiny library near our house), so he would come home almost weekly with a large bag full of the Japanese comics. I read most of them. It doesn't seem fair, in my head. If I counted up all of the volumes of every title, I would probably have read hundreds of books, but I can't equate manga with books in my head. I can read one in half an hour uninterrupted, an hour if I was an hour-long program at the same time. They're addictive I tell you.
So I need to read more. And I go to bookstores (and buy manga) and book sales(where I buy book-books), and one of my resolutions is to read at least ten books I've bought and have not yet read. I've got more than that, but ten is my goal.
I think part of it, other than how quick it is to read a manga, is that reading a fantasy novel can take a lot of time. I can finish one in a day or two, maybe three, if I devote the whole day to reading. But few series make me want to do that. And then I feel like, if I have all that time, I should be trying to write. That actually sitting down and writing is more productive than reading in my genre, even though I know reading is an important part of writing. Especially reading the new stuff.
I should try reading new debut authors as well. I'm very iffy about spending money on something I'm unsure about, though.
Not reading enough makes me feel a little guilty, I guess is what I'm trying to say. I've been seeing a lot of "Currently reading..." or worse yet, "The list of books I read in 2006." (How do they remember? I wish I kept a list like that.) I think my own 2006 reading list would be painfully short did I not include manga.
Any comments out there from other writers? How do you make the time to read for fun? Do you ever feel guilty (or is it just me and my Italian guilt trip ability) for reading when you could be writing?