Reading and Writing (No Arithmetic)

 

image

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!

~CJS

5 responses to “Reading and Writing (No Arithmetic)

  1. I think I’ve been reading enough for the two of us. I’ve been doing soooo much reading. Mostly reading/rereading Neil Gaiman, Liane Moriarty, Lovecraft, and Piers Anthony. As for reading a series again for the first time…I’m not sure I’d ever want that. I get it, though, experiencing the wonder all over again. But, I find I miss so much the first time around, so I’d much rather reread books I love than read them over for the first time. I learn so much more in subsequent readings and I always gain new insights. Plus, I love giving people books that I love that they haven’t read yet. So, in a way, through them I get to experience that feeling through another’s eyes. It’s pretty awesome itself!
    Although, having said that…I would like to go back and find The Love Book App all over again for the first time. I think that one has made the most difference in my life.

  2. I’m embarrassed to admit to how few of those books I’ve read. I think I have some reading to do.

  3. Some of those books on the list I own, but have not read. I guess I will need to do that soon-ish. When I am in a reading slump, or feeling blue, I always pick up a Harry Potter. It takes me back to the first time I read each book and fell in love with that world.

    I must admit though, I was not a fan of The Great Gatsby. It felt like I was reading the ramblings of a drunk man, and then after I finished the book, I found out that he WAS a drunk man. lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.