Saturday, 21 November 2009
It’s important to have a healthy dose of daily reading. Most great writers agree it’s hard write without reading. Reading opens stylistic possibilities and technical nuances and gives you some idea of your competition.
I’ve recently been reading more and more. I’m constantly inspired to pick up a book by the newest line of insipid TV shows and mindless movies. I do love a great show or a good film, but I’m seeing less and less of those. I don’t mean to sound snobbish.
Reading is great for me because it lets me escape without making guilt. After a three hour video game binge, I walk away a groggy zombie. After a three hour reading binge, I feel reflective, pensive, and productive. Simply, it’s not a waste of my time or my brain; more importantly, it’s an intrinsic part of my passion (writing).
I always have a problem both reading and writing daily, and usually I sacrifice time for one in favor of the other. Let’s face it, we all have lives. We can’t just sit around reading and writing all day. Admittedly, I usually sacrifice reading in favor of writing.
A sure way to get around this problem of ‘sacrifice’ is to have a concise book list. Many times, if I don’t have the ‘pressure’ of an upcoming read, I falter on my goal of reading one book a week. I convince myself that the book can wait. However, as I said, reading is as important as writing for a writer and this delaying is harmful to our progress.
It’s important that the list is full of books that are contemporary and classic; it keeps you on your literary toes. Books of varying length, difficulty, and genre keep interests fresh. A planned book list urges you to read, keeping your literary talents advancing.
So, today on my lengthy drive home for Thanksgiving break, I thought about a new, concise book list. I’ve been reading too many classics and I planned accordingly.
1. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – Old, difficult and long.
2. Misery – Stephen King – New, easy and short.
3. Republic – Plato – Old, difficult, and medium-length
4. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott – New, easy, short
5. Ishmael - Daniel Quinn – New, difficult, and medium-length
6. Chracters and Viewpoints – Orson Scott Card – Newish, easy, short
My list alternates between literary facets, keeping me excited for that next title. Near the end of the month (books 5 and 6), I’ll usually consistently keep books short. Now go make your own!
God Save the Books,