Why I Need to Binge Read
By Sara Codair
The Binge Read is a dangerous thing for me. If I find a good series that reads like one long book, I can be lost in it for days, sometimes even weeks. The laundry piles up. The floor stays dirty. My spouse complains I don’t talk, that all I do is read.
One summer, while partially unemployed, I spent a little under two weeks reading all the Game of Thrones books. The year I discovered Jim Butcher, I did something similar with the all the Dresden Files books that were out at the time. Most recently, I binge read five Throne of Glass books, not realizing there was still one more book that had yet to be published.
Now, as I am wishing I didn’t have to wait for the 6th book, I am remembering why binge reading is so necessary once and a while. It lets me see how series come together over time, teaches me about character, and provides a much needed break from reality.
While reading the first book in the series, I saw a novel that wasn’t much better, at least in my biased opinion, than the one I am presently trying to sell. It stood on its own, but was clearly part of something bigger. It wasn’t perfect, but the vibrant characters had loads of potential, and the last scene teased me just enough to make me want to read on. So I did.
I was sick, and still one winter break. I grabbed my kindle and downloaded book 2. I watched the characters fall in and out of love, beat the odds with sass and swagger, all while I saw the author set up a plot that went well beyond what was hinted at in book 1, also giving me about how I could use that growth and progression in my own work.
I saw characters change, and I believed it because of how vivid the world was, because the actions and events made that change seem realistic, and because the emotion roiling behind their poker faces was so raw.
I’m still processing what, exactly, I learned about writing novels from this binge, and will be for some time. However, that is not the only benefit. The world is going crazy right now, and it was refreshing to see some arrogant, dirty, greedy rulers get their asses kicked by the people they oppressed. It was like, here is a guy that is way worse than the ones you have deal with in the real word, and oh look, that former slave is really kicking his ass, even if the plot later does follow a LOTR/Star Wars type thing and reveal the heroine is actually heir to a neighboring kingdom’s throne…
While I miss some of the characters like they are real people, I have a better appreciation for my own world, and a renewed motivation to not only use my own writing to play and create, but to revise the hell out of my WIP’s hoping that one day, someone will binge read my work.