Reading as a writer: What we like

I'd like to read in this field of flowers. Assuming I don't have allergies.

I’d like to read in this field of flowers, assuming I don’t have allergies.

Yesterday, oh wonderful yesterday. You were a Sunday, a relaxing Sunday, when the day was mine. Oh, how I lament your loss. Now it’s Monday. Almost Tuesday. I’m not feeling too hot, but maybe it’s allergies? Regardless, the Zero to Hero show must go on.

Reading lists

On Sunday I discovered Katie: Librarian Lady and commented on her impressive 2013 reading list. Katie read more than 50 books in 2013 and she has got my solid respect. That’s a lot of reading.

Reading makes you a better writer — at least that’s my belief, and I dare you to disagree (nicely). Last night I was on the sofa, under the green and orange afghan my Grandma Margaret made a few decades ago, reading Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. This, by the way, is a book that Katie read in 2013. I’m trying to finish it by Wednesday for book club, our first in 2014.

Anyway, as I’m reading Eleanor and Park I’m thinking about how Rainbow Rowell is doing it, how she is making me care so much about these two characters and their relationship. I’m thinking about what RR may read, what authors inspire her, what notes she mentally takes as she’s reading, how it informs her work.

You over there and me over here

As I write this, my husband is reading The Little Black Book of Short Stories by A.S. Byatt. He was reading it last night, too. It’s totally immersive for him. Will it be for me? Unknown. Would he love Eleanor and Park? Maybe, but he probably wouldn’t stick with it. We are two people who have a similar worldview and shared interests and taste, yet our literary lives often diverge in the wood.

When I found Katie’s post, I asked her which of the many books she read in 2013 stuck with her, which were her faves. She named a few, but I had the sense it may have been difficult to choose. So now I’m left thinking about how we connect with literature. How some books speak to us as readers and writers, and what it is that builds that connection. It’s a powerful thing. What do you think it is? How do you explain loving a book?

Inspired by Day 12.

4 thoughts on “Reading as a writer: What we like

  1. What a lovely post! As an avid reader (probably “voracious” is a better descriptor), I don’t know that there is a formula for what books speak to me. It helps if a book tugs on my heartstrings, makes me wish I were there (or feel like I was), or calls me to action. And thank you for introducing me to Katie: Librarian Lady. I will enjoy following her blog, too. – Fawn

    • Hi Fawn — Yes, I don’t think there is a formula either. It’s something difficult to explain, but fun to try! I suppose it explains the existence of book clubs and book reviews and the like. To your list, I’d like to add that a book speaks to me when I feel like it’s keeping me company and reminding me that there is a shared human experience.

  2. It is a very mysterious thing, I suspect, particularly if, like me, one is an avid reader. Some books speak to my heart, others to my soul; humorous books are a source of relaxation and that all-important laugh therapy.
    But I would say, for me, a sign of true love of a specific book is this: if I am reading and the written world becomes mine to such an extent that I feel I am living in it rather than reading it – that’s love!

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