#FridayReads, the OMG YOU READ A LOT edition

Posted 20 January, 2012 by DLWhite in Writers Write 1 Comment

A few weeks ago, I met some friends at our local Bahama Breeze for drinks and a rousing game of “keep the toddler from climbing over the tops of the benches and pulling the hair of the patron behind us.” It was some unexpected cardio and a really good time, because I’ve missed this particular family since they moved to Florida.

“So,” my friend S says to me. “I have questions. You read a lot. What’s that about?”

I laughed, because I can only imagine what it looks like to people who follow me on twitter or Facebook. I don’t party, I rarely eat out, I don’t drink. I don’t wax on about the latest vampire show or singing competition (except for Criminal Minds or Golden Girls. I stan for both of those shows!). What I do is read. I read incessantly. I’m kind of addicted to getting lost in a fictional world, fictional characters for 300-500 pages at a time. I am a member at Goodreads, and when I stop for the moment or the day, I record my progress. If I don’t tweet anything else, it looks like I haven’t been doing anything but reading all day. And on the weekends, you’re probably right, on that one.

Over time I have developed the skill of reading quickly (okay and sometimes if there’s 7 pages of description, I skim. SHHHHHH don’t tell anyone!). So yes, I read a lot. A few books at a time, especially if one is particularly heavy. I need something light to detract from that.

I read all the time. In the morning, I’ve been listening to audio books as I get ready instead of watching television. CNN just ticks me off right now, anyway. I keep it going as I get in the car and drive the usual 45– but sometimes 60– minute drive to work. At lunch, I pull out my eReader and feast on something else that I’ve got going, that I ONLY read on my lunch break, so I have something to look forward to. When I leave, I cue up the audiobook where I left it that morning and get in another good hour.

You’d think I’d be tired by the time I got home, but you’re wrong there! After dinner a few nights a week, I snuggle into bed with Nookie (my name for my Nook Color) or a print book and dig in. I’ve been known to be up way too late just trying to finish something or get to the end of a chapter.

So yes. I read a lot. But why?

People ask me this all the time. I guess not why I read, but why I read so much. And I figure… why not read so much? What else should I be doing? Another reason is because it helps my writing. I’m a big proponent of Stephen King’s adage that writers read. And read and read and read. The more I read, the better I write. In fact, I’ve started reading “Reading Like a Writer” by Francine Prose. A lot of things I have been doing by rote… watching how an author skips over time, opens a new scene, pulls back on descriptions, makes the mundane seem important to the story. My brain tucks these things away, and when I go to write a scene, I remember that Eric J Dickey wrote this scene about two friends at a club and it was really casual but told so much, or that Stieg Larsson was too descriptive, so watch that.

So what am I feasting on this week? Well, I’ve had an itch for the classics lately for some reason. I listened to 1984 and The Crucible via audiobook– both great. I have a thing for the Salem Witch Trials, so the Crucible in particular was great. I also listened to Betty White’s If You Ask Me… which was another great but short read. I knocked it out in two commutes!

I just started John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath because I have never read it. YES I have been warned against this book, but everytime I read the synopsis, it sounds interesting to me. Then again, I enjoyed 1984 and The Crucible. I might be weird.

I’m going to pick up something light and fun this weekend and read that, probably tomorrow. Don’t know what it’ll be yet, but it’ll be great.

Suggestions??? 

 


One Response to “#FridayReads, the OMG YOU READ A LOT edition”

  1. Satia Renee

    Have you considered picking up a graphic memoir?  I’ve read some really wonderful ones and am amazed with how well some people have managed to tell their personal stories in a medium that is traditionally not taken seriously.  I can’t say that these are light reading but you can easily knock one out in a couple of hours and get back to Steinbeck.  I recently reviewed one in my blog.

    http://satiasreviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/persepolis-by-marjane-satrapi.html 

    I also reviewed the sequel and I recommend you just go ahead and grab both because you’ll want to read them together.  I also recommend:

    Stitches by David Small for its surreal imagery and powerful story telling.
    http://satia.blogspot.com/2009/09/stitches-by-david-small.html 

    and

    Funhome by Alison Bechdel a wonderfully literary and strong story about a young woman’s grief and discovery.