Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reading... How, When, and What? (Tell Me!)

I had set myself the goal of reading 52 books this year. I know if I tell you I've read two, you won't fall out of your chair, because let's face it, we're talking about me here...

I used to read a lot. A LOT! I've read thousands of books in my 39 years (more specifically in the past 35 years), and I mean literally thousands. Most of these were reading in my adolescence. I did read a lot in my twenties, but sadly, most of the books I read then were textbooks, and I say sadly because reading textbooks is probably what killed reading for me.

Kind of a terrible admission from a writer, isn't it, that they don't like to read. Was it Elle who said the only book she'd ever read was one she'd written herself? I'm sure she was trying to say something about finding the truth within yourself, but that didn't stop people thinking she was just stupid, did it?

I don't know what it is, but there are very few books that catch my imagination any more. Maybe I'm just not reading the right books? I was lamenting to a friend today that it seems to me everyone is reading, and writers read the most! Is it just that people aren't writing anything new these days - I know that's not it, so please don't burn effigies of me - or have I lost the ability to think and therefore can't cope without visual cues?

I've heard writers say they don't blog because they don't have time to blog, it eats into their writing time, but I've never heard a writer say that reading eats into their writing time. They always have time for reading, a least one book a week, if not five!

I've also heard it said that you can't really be a good writer until you're a good reader. I'm hoping that all the reading I did between twenty and thirty years ago counts!

Mind you, books have only been in print in the past - what? - 500 years, and they weren't readily available until about 200 years ago (right?), so if the best writers are veracious readers, why are many of our most renowned writers from back when there weren't as many books and they weren't widely available?

This week I've done a lot of writing, on my blog, on my thesis (just a bit of editing, really) and that short story I wrote yesterday. Between researching, writing, and parenting, I've been quite exhausted, and although I did manage to read a chapter of a, um, writing textbook, I was struggling to keep my eyes open!

How do people find the energy to read?

When do you read, and what is you most highly recommended book at the moment?

1 comment:

ryivhnn said...

I've been reading a lot more lately *runs before getting shot* XD) I used to read when feeding babies to sleep, recently went through a workaholic phase where I was bringing the laptop to bed and working while settling Cub, and now that the laptop is more or less tethered by my Cintiq (aka I cbf unplugging the Cintiq) I am back to taking books to bed. Will take my phone instead if I feel like researching though.

I don't really buy the you HAVE to be a good reader to be a good writer thing any more than I buy the you HAVE to be able to copy the style of master painters before you can develop your own style. It helps you get better but it doesn't stop you from being able to write.

Good luck with the reading goal :)

-bek

Teenagers and the failing parent...