I've heard it hundreds of times: If you want to be a great writer you must be a great reader.
I've always been an avid reader, often jockeying 3-4 titles at the same time, so this year I accepted a challenge from The Mad Reviewer, a book reviewing blog, to read and review a minimum of 26 titles. This makes me a Slightly Sane Reviewer, as opposed to a Crazy Reviewer, who takes on 52 titles, or a Mad Reviewer who tackles 104. If you're concerned about time constraints and commitments but still want to get in the game, you can be a Sane Reviewer and sign on for just 12 books. I settled on 26 to give myself a little wiggle room, because I'll also be writing my own novel and revising another and may not have time to read more. The reviews can be posted on the venue of my choice, i.e. my blog, Amazon, Goodreads, Library Thing, iBooks, Nook, or wherever else I choose to post. At the end of the year, if I meet my goal I'll be entered into a drawing to win some great prizes (more books!)
Care to join me? Serving as a reviewer is an excellent way to learn about the structure of a novel, how story works (or doesn't), and hone your own writing skills. And don't worry - you don't have to be especially bookish to comment on an author's work. All we're looking for is your honest opinion, praise when deserved, and criticism when needed. All we ask for is some kindness because we have feelings, too. You'll also be helping fellow readers, because they appreciate reviews that steer them to books they'll enjoy, which helps them to use their reading hours wisely and productively.