humor / writing

I Have a Confession: I’m a Whale Reader

reprint from Chris the Story Reading Ape

(for those who missed it there)

I Have a Confession: I’m a Whale Reader

You may be familiar with the term ‘whales’. These are people who gamble a lot in casinos, with the potential to lose a lot or bring in business. Casinos fight over them. They’ll comp their stays and food and treat them like kings, all for the chance to have these super-heavy gamblers bring the casino enormous profits.

That’s me, but I’m not a whale gambler. I’m a whale reader.

What’s a Whale Reader

People who love books are called bibliophiles but those who read a ton of books–far more than the average person–are called whale readers. For example, I read 229 books last year, not the most read by anyone but more than 90% of those on the Goodreads Challenge. That’s about four a week. The year before, I read 200 and the same the year before that.  In my defense, it’s as much about me reading so many books as it is about books getting shorter. They used to be about 400 pages. Now, though it’s difficult to tell on Kindle, I’ve read many under 250. And I’m surprised how many are novelettes (that’s still counted as a book).

How to Become a Whale Reader

I don’t devote myself to reading. I just choose to read when I have free time which could be during lunch, standing in line at the pharmacy, waiting for a doctor appointment, watching (boring) TV, eating dinner, eating breakfast–well, you get the idea. I work as much as the normal person but I work out of my house so all that time I used to spend commuting, chatting with colleagues, filling my car with gas, or going out for meals is now spent reading. If you add that time up in your own schedule, you’ll see it’s a lot of time and you’ll understand how my smartphone tells me I spend two-four hours a day on my Kindle app.

That’s why I am considered a Whale Reader. Series authors fight for my attention.

Where do I find enough books

Honestly, feeding my reading habit is expensive. A few years ago, when I realized how gal-darn much money I was spending on books, I made a few changes. First, I entered all of Goodreads free book challenges. That didn’t work–I have yet to win one. Then I joined NetGalley. I get lots of books through them and happily many by my top authors (like Val McDermid, Ben Coes, Mark Greaney, and Nelson DeMille). But that doesn’t happen often enough so I extended my reach to the library. There, they provide even the most current best sellers if I’m willing to wait my turn.

Overall, these approaches cut down on my reading bill to the point where my current problem is finding enough books, even for free.

Whale Writers I Love

I love finding authors of really long series. Here are a few of my favorites:

Robert Thomas–writes the Jesse Williams series, one a month. He’s up to 78 now

W.L. Cox–writes at least one book a month in two series. He’s up to 42 in both series

Russell Blake–writes a variety of series; it used to be one a month but I think it’s less now

Paul Thompson–writes the Shorty Thompson series, up to 65+ books (I’m about 2/3s through it)

Why am I a Whale Reader?

The short answer is, I don’t have a choice. I love reading and it nicely-informs my other addiction: Writing. I won’t even list all the books I’ve published. Well, here’s a general list:

100+ nonfiction on technology in education

Building a Midshipman: How to Crack the USNA Application

To Hunt a Sub

Twenty-four Days

Born in a Treacherous Time

Survival of the Fittest


If you’d like to reach out to me, we can share writing ideas or simply commiserate over our whale reader status. Here’s where you can find me:

Twitter (WordDreams)



My blog, Jacqui Murray’s WordDreams

My Amazon page

My Goodreads page

My virtual curriculum vitae

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, The Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

121 thoughts on “I Have a Confession: I’m a Whale Reader

  1. Pingback: How I Afford to be a Whale Reader | WordDreams...

  2. I suppose I’m a whale reader also! I am very happy I stumbled across this place for my transitioning from a land to an island that is small enough to swim but the weather doesn’t always permit!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: #IWSG — Do Writers Read? | WordDreams...

      • The stuff I write at is content which is difficult to find an audience for. Right now it has an audience of 1 and that’s me. I have a theory. The theory is that people don’t like what I write because they haven’t read *all* of it in one go.

        If you take my writing piecemeal then you will not like it. If someone reads the whole entire thing they will like it. That’s my theory anyways. There are many pieces that need to fit together before people get the light bulb moment where they can see the value in what I write. I have yet to find out if this is true or not because no one has ever read every post I’ve ever written on

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Just. Wow I used to read like that, back before kids and writing. These days I’m lucky to get through more than one book a month. I love the library, and I’ve been keeping up with some favorite authors that way, however slowly. I just hope my TBR list doesn’t bury me 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An interesting term, Jacquie. I am not sure how many books I read in a year as this is the first year I am actually logging them all on Goodreads. I am at about 48. 200 is a huge amount and I will probably manage half that. I read a lot of classics and those are usually long and time consuming.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this description of someone who reads a LOT of books. I’m not a whale reader, but I’m probably a dolphin reader. At least 100 books a year, and I felt so guilty when I told people that. They assumed it meant I don’t work or have a job or do anything but sit on a rocking chair and read. Of course not the case. I work many hours, and tend to my grandkids and my guy and cook meals! I am a very fast reader – that helps. And when people are (to me) wasting their time with TV – I’m reading! Our library has a conglomerate of about 8 of them, so I get most of my books from the library now – Kindle or hardbound – as well as Audibles. It’s helped my budge.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great post, Jacqui.

    As regards novelettes, since you know I write them, I think it’s simply because we can now with self-publishing. Especially for me as a fairy tale writer, sometimes that’s just the perfect length for a tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve long been envious of your reading skills, Jacqui. I think you also read faster than many of us, certainly more than me. I’ll be lucky to get to 48 books by Dec. 31, but since that’s nearly one a week, I’m content. It’s just that there are so many books I want to read!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I wish I could read that much, but alas, I’m too busy with Life in general. I’m able to get in about 15 minutes at bedtime before I fall asleep holding the book. 🙂 Love that you’re considered a whale reader!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There’s a woman in my neighborhood who takes daily walks. She holds a book – a REAL book – and reads while she walks. When walking our dog Freddie I’ve trailed her for long periods – she never looks up, never stumbles and walks faster than I do because she never stops to lift her leg like Freddie. Next time I’m going to check and see if it’s you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting. I never read on my walks, never use my phone. First, I want to enjoy my version of Freddie (Casey) and if he gets boring–which he never does–there’s always Nature. I do read in pharmacy lines and at the doctor’s office though.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re amazing, Jacqui. I would love to be a whale reader, but I read pretty slowly even when I make the time. I’ve been reading (listening to) a lot more books now since I’m driving so many hours between home and my parents’ home. It’s a wonderful way to pass the time. Someday I hope I will run out of books, but it doesn’t seem likely. Happy Reading. I hope you’re having a wonderful summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I do hope you like it 🙂 One reviewer asked for it but she didn’t like it and gave me one star and it’s now sitting at the top 😦 I expect a few low stars, and quite accept that, but I wish someone had pushed her remarks down a couple out of sight!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I do a lot of reading for work, and I’ve found that that my reading for fun has dropped off quite a lot. Kudos to you for keeping up that kind of intensity! 🙂 My idea of pleasure reading now is to sit on a beach with a book and pretend to read while my mind just wanders.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love the term Whale Reader! I’ve never heard that applied to gamblers before. That’s an amazing amount of books, Jacqui. My goal is 70 so the must make me a salmon reader:)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I read an awful lot of books aloud to my elementary students over the years. That was one of the perks of being a teacher. Imagining how an author wanted the character’s voices to sound was part of the joy. The problem was I couldn’t always remember what voice I used the previous day. One funny memory I have is picking up from the last day and have a student utter, “Wait! That’s not mommy’s voice!”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Amazing Jacqui that you can read and find the books interesting to finish and review. I enjoy reading but I am particular about what I read. I love audiobooks. I can read a book faster if I can listen to it. And, I find the stories more interesting as I have fewer distractions. Yes, You are a Whale Rider…and you probably have read that book too.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow, that is amazing! I’d never heard of the term “whale” as related to casino gamblers. It’s very impressive when you apply it to readers.

    I enter the GR challenge every year. I think the most I’ve ever read is 83 books in a single year. I average about 6 a month, sometimes more depending on what else I have going on. I do love to read, and will take my Kindle with me when I know I’m going to be sitting in a doctor’s office or anywhere else that involves a wait. I have such a huge TBR, I would love to have more hours to devote to it.

    Happy reading, Jacqui!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I forget where I found that term–probably reading! Deb Kaye–any thoughts on this?

      I actually don’t even own a Kindle. I use the Kindle app on my phone. That way, it’s always with me. I have a iPhone so it’s larger than some others.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For some reason I haven’t been able to adapt to using the Kindle app on my iPhone. I’m going to have to give it a try, because I don’t always carry the Kindle with me. they say to takes 21 days to form a habit, soooo….:)

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Working in the service industry for 60hrs a week (… With no breaks) really hinders my reading now. 😕 I wish I had more time because I have a backlog of book MILES WIDE!! I have about 12 boxes, a whole bookshelf and a kindle and kobo app full of books… But, it’s the time that gets me!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I somehow have less time for reading now than I used to, so I probably get through one book a week. (The one I’m currently reading is dragging my average down, though. I just can’t get into it and might have to quit before the end—something I don’t do often.) But you really have reached whale-status. Your numbers are impressive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know what you mean about a book taking too long. The one I’m reading now is by an author I love but it just doesn’t grab me like the others did. Sigh.

      It’s taken me a while to embrace being a whale–years. But now I’ve outted myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I never heard about that term before, both the gambler or reader. 229? WOW! I read a lot, but I’m sad to say I don’t keep count of them all. I only rate the ones I give 3 stars and plus, and that not all either, as I tend to binge read first, then rate later.
    I enjoy reading Nora roberts. She releases 1 stand alone every year, 1 full length part of a fantasy trilogy and two detective – also full length – books under JD Rob. It’s not as many as the authors you listed, but still, I wonder how they can do that? I barely manage 1 every year and I struggle to keep up.
    Good reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Much to my surprise, it’s more common than I thought though it goes by a variety of names other than Whale.

      I agree about the 1/yr. I am not going to make that now that I’m through those I’ve already written. People who write 1/mo–just amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. That is a lot of reading.
    ‘Whales’ is a new term to me, though I had heard about the gamblers I somehow missed seeing that they have a title. I used to read an awful lot of books, but I’m not sure I quite reached your totals.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Jacqui,

    Does reading a lot of blogs mean I am a Whale Reader? lol That’s amazing you read that much and I admire this quality in others. I wish I felt more compelled to read. Maybe I’d broaden my mind more if I were to pick up a book every now and then. We all have different passions and pursuits, though. This was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing with me and for teaching me something new, my friend. Have a boogietastic week!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow, Jacqui, that’s a lot of books. I don’t read nearly that many. I do too much reading online. I need to reduce that more and go back to books.
    I am almost finished reading one exciting book that isn’t on your list but should be — Survival of the Fittest. Can’t wait to find out what happens, but don’t really want it to end. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • I finished it this morning, Jacqui. I thoroughly enjoy Survival of the Fittest. The excitement built as the story progressed. I was pleased there was a teaser for book 2 at the end. I didn’t want to stop. I’m wondering how the Crossroads Trilogy fits in with the Dawn of Humanity Trilogy. You’ve probably written about that somewhere. I’ll have to look it up. Thanks for an intriguing and compelling read.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. I used to be a whale reader (love the term!). In fact, when I was a teenager and acted up, I was grounded from books. It was my worst nightmare. I still read a lot, but I have concentration issues related to depression, so it’s a little harder now. Oh, btw, I followed your twitter and pinterest. 🙂 I’m so glad to have met you, and to be reading your wonderful articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kymber. Don’t visit my Instagram profile. It’s embarrassing! I’m sorry about the depression. Something that affects the brain–that’s my worst nightmare. Judging by your Sim stories, it hasn’t hurt your creativity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I thank you for that. 🙂 You’re very kind.

        I have an Instagram devoted to Judy Garland, but I haven’t been on there in forever. I use Tumblr more for that.


  25. I am such a slow reader I could never be a whale reader but am so impressed by those who are. Do you remember the books you read? I have a friend who is a fast reader and can devour quite a few in a short time, but she doesn’t remember many of them. I read 2 – 4 books a month but I remember most of them. I’m not a fast writer either. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Five or six years ago, I started collecting all of the books I read onto Goodreads. Now, I find myself checking there before buying a book. I don’t remember every book I’ve read but do if prodded. I’m up to over 1700.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are amazing!! I have read a lot of books in my lifetime but have never added them up. I imagine it would be that many if I include those I read as a child. Many times when I see a list of the 100 most read books, I usually have read most of them. I have been known to buy a book I have already read!


  26. I learned about whale readers at the 20BooksTo50K conference – their ethos is rapid writing and release (a book a month if possible) to target whale readers. It sure works, looking at their sales figures, with an income I could only dream of.
    Just wish I had it in me to write that fast, but sadly it ain’t gonna happen!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. On average I read about 2.5 novels a week (not a big novella reader). Except this year I will fall well short of the mark. Just been one of those years where I have been extremely time poor. Maybe I can catch up in the second half of the year =)

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Hi Jacqui – I really need to become a ‘whale reader’ … lots of books to read – most of which need me (I think!) to make notes … and take my time over – perhaps I should make the effort to skim read more … and I rarely do novels, or novelettes … though I’ve just bought three short story books published by Penguin classics – I’d better give those a try. (2 of 100 pages, the other of 150) … I admire your reading habit! I’ll start, if I may, once the tennis is over!! cheers Hilary

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Shame, I was going to offer you my Amie series, but then I’ve only written 5 books so far. Can’t even begin to imagine how a writer gets to 78! Managed to read 200 last year and I reviewed them all. – Pass the halo.

    Liked by 2 people

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