Thursday, February 26, 2009

Learning to Un-Read

So, my website is up and running pretty smoothly so far. I've gotten some nice feedback on it (thanks to everyone who offered some up) and with that out of the way, I can now get back to business and get back to writing. Or revising. Well, both actually.

But I think I also need to find time to do the one thing that I used to love, and now seem to have no time for.


I firmly believe that one can't be a good writer unless one is a reader as well. Trouble is, not only do I not have the kind of time I used to (oh, why can't there be another two or three hours in a day strictly for me time?) but I don't enjoy reading the way I used to, either.

It's not that there aren't any decent books in my TBR stack. There are. I'm currently reading two books right now. Philip Norman's Lennon: The Life and Joe Torre/Tom Verducci's The Yankee Years. Both books are quite good, in very different ways, of course, but I just don't itch to get back to them. I read a little when I eat lunch and that's about it. Once upon a time, I'd devour a book every day or two. Now... well... I've been reading the Philip Norman book since Christmas Day (it was a gift from my husband.)

It took me about three months to get through a Lisa Kleypas historical romance before the holidays. Again, it was a good book and I enjoyed it, but not the way I used to. Even Johanna Lindsey, who is one of my must-reads, just doesn't quite do it for me any more.

At first I thought it was just that the stories weren't good. And though a few of Lindsey's have been sub-par compared to her older (and most definitely classic historical romances), I don't think that's it.

Then it hit me.

I don't read like a reader any longer. I read like a writer.

Which means I don't lose myself in the story because I trip over the flaws. Or typos. Or plot holes. And that's not to put down any of these authors or books. Nobody's perfect and it doesn't keep me from buying any more of these authors' books. It simply comes from so much time revising and rewriting my own work. But it drives me crazy. And I'm not entirely sure I can un-learn how to read again.

And I'm not happy about that.

So maybe this weekend, I'll just find a quiet spot and try to lose myself in one of those books. I hope so. I miss reading. I miss it a lot.


Emilia said...

I get what you're saying. I've barely been reading lately, but I recently rented two books, both YA: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen and Looking for Alaska by John Green. I wanted to like Just Listen, but the romantic interest wasn't 3D, there were too many being verbs, the phrase "I felt my face flush" was used 20 times, and I kept noticing other filters (I saw, I felt, etc). I swear to god, I wouldn't have noticed ANY of that stuff if it hadn't been highlighted in neon by my writer brain.

Looking For Alaska is bigger problem. I've been dying to read this book for ages, before I even started my WIP. But I waited until after I'd learned about something called Style/Voice, and now I can't help but notice John Green's quirky Style/Voice, and even though I'd give anything to just read the book and love it, I can't. The jilted sentences and adverbs call my name, and I get tired after a couple chapters. It's really sad. This book is a Printz award winner--it's supposed to be perfect!

I guess the one upside is that once you notice an error or turn-off in someone else's book, you're less likely to make that same error in your own work. I hope. Oh, I hope.

-- an AW user by the name of peachiemkey =]

Kim said...

I hope so - there has to be something good to come out of not remembering how to read like a reader! =)