Lately I’ve been so busy with work and with my very limited amount of writing that I have spent far less time reading than I would like. I am really missing it. Reading offers so much to me for sheer escapism and reading pleasure, but also because what we read can be such an inspiration for our writing and a practical lesson in how to write well. Or, depending on the book, how *not* to write! 😉
Stephen King says so well in his great autobiographical writing book, On Writing:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others, read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
While I simply enjoy reading and always have, I totally get the idea of reading to be a better writer. When I read now, I always read with an idea in mind about what I like about what the writer is doing, and what I don’t think works that well. I can’t help but see those details. That’s not to say I don’t get completely wrapped up in the story sometimes and forget to pick up on any details, because I do that a lot, too. But those are learning moments as well. I can ask myself what made me get lost in the story or why was it so compelling. I may not be able to tell you details but I can tell you an overall impression.
I go through spells where I read obsessively. Sometimes it’s because I find something I especially like to read and sometimes just because of the circumstances at the time. But for lots of reasons, the largest being just an insane work life right now, I have cut my reading down significantly the last few months. In the last few weeks, though, I’ve been having a serious craving to read more.
I like the quote at the beginning from J.K. Rowling because I am an escapist reader. I like to read stories that let me escape my own reality and explore someone else’s. I will read stories that have a lot of conflict or horror, but they aren’t my first preference because I don’t like to spend a lot of time in a stressful world. If it serves the story well and the writing is good, I’ll still enjoy the book, but I like to enjoy the world I visit.
I recently read an article I found on Twitter – 32 Books You’d Like to Read Again For The First Time and was thrilled to see most of my choices represented. I’ve read a lot of the books they have on the list and am tempted to check out some of the others that I haven’t. Two of the selections were very popular series so were not at all surprising. The number one selection was the Harry Potter series, which I love and wholeheartedly agree would be a great one to read again for the first time. Another was the Hunger Games trilogy. I would love to read both of those series again for the first time again because they are just so good. I’ve re-read them several times, but to read them again for the first time would be a real treat. Many classics were also listed that are also favorites of mine, like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby. Both might feel like the first time again since it’s been so long. But one book I didn’t expect to see on the list is one I would definitely include on my list – The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. I’ve read this book so many times and can I just tell you the movie based on the book is a total disappointment if you’ve read it. Read the book, don’t watch the movie. The Perks of Being a Wallflower on the other hand (also on the list), is a great movie, so I’d recommend giving both a shot.
So I need to find something new to read. I have quite a lot on my ever growing To Be Read list, and have more than a few sitting unread on my bedside table and on my Kindle. I’ll keep you posted if I find a new one that I especially enjoy. But whether I end up with great new find or not, I will be happy to be reading. 🙂
Do you read a lot? Wish you could read more? What are you reading now? Are there books you’d like to read again for the first time? What are they? Do leave a comment and let us know.
Thanks for *reading* and have a great week!