I purchase more books than I can read. I read them slowly so they sink in and induce me into the writer’s mind or a fantasy world; the curse of having a huge imagination. When I’m not reading (or writing), I feel guilty. Watching Netflix sometimes makes me feel I’m cheating on a book.
“I’m sorry, Bonjour Tristesse. I promise to pay you more attention.”
What inspires me to read? The topic largely, I suppose. Not a great secret. No re-creating the wheel. What topic? Depends on what I’m writing, especially if the narrative or voice is not a life or profession I’m familiar with. If I’m writing from a Latina female perspective, I dig out Isabel Allende or the like, to see how the characters express emotion or describe landscapes, etc. If I’m looking for humour with real life drama, Roddy Doyle or Irvine Welsh do the trick. It might for a critical eye, almost academic, to see how a particular writer builds plots or conflict, taking notes on things I like and dislike. You get the picture. I imagine you, reading, are not too dissimilar.
Also like you, I’m also sold on reviews and a great synopsis. They’re sometimes better written than the books themselves. They hook you and leave you fixed. I sit there before my Kindle buying countless electronic books. I’ve amassed an amount which I’m struggling to get through. Addiction makes the mind do illogical things. I know I shouldn’t go to the Amazon Kindle store, but I do. I shouldn’t click buy, but I do. I know I shouldn’t give tax-dodger Jeff Bezos my hard-earned cash, but I do. I should just write my own book, but I need to get off my lazy arse and build a healthy writing habit.
I’m reading four books at once. The main one to hand is David Copperfield, the 700+ page Charles Dickens epic. A weight in my bag, I can tell you. It’s almost a project within itself, just to read it, let alone write something like that. I began reading it in 2013 but I needed to put it down and read something else for a while. A break or respite period. About 200 pages I read. Not even half. It’s dense but fascinating vocabulary is a workout for the mind, though not always a refreshing one. The pace is slow, making it laborious. When I put it down five years ago, I wasn’t brave enough to pick it back up. I wanted something else to massage the mind; not give it a tumor. And it has sat there, since, taunting me (“Read me. Pussy.”). It doesn’t help that the edition I have looks black and sincere, which kind of goes with the tone of the narrative. If I struggle with a book, think it’s shit or not enjoying it, I’ve no problem in dropping it. Life’s too short.
How I chose David Copperfield was quite different from previous books I’ve chosen. It was that all important first paragraph, depth and strength of the entrance that made you know you were going on a verge into Copperfield’s life. It’s almost a memorable quote, although I can’t remember how I came across it. For some reason it’s something in relation to a Family Guy episode.
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the real clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. Go for
Here’s your chance to tell us how you choose the books you read. What inspired you to go for the current book you’re reading? Do you choose books like I do?
Write your answers in the comments section.