The Stories Begun

{January 12, 2011}   Was it Reading or Anaesthetizing?

Recently, I read a blog by a dedicated soul who had decided to read X number of books in a year.  I applauded his effort while, at the same time, scoffing at the number X.  X was small.  Ridiculously so.  At least, it was in my world.

Then I read his book list.  Hush my mouth.  And while I was at it, remove my foot, too.  This list was a list of books.  What, you may ask, is the difference between books and books?  I’m afraid I can’t explain it.  Rather, after finishing the prose, I can ask the question: Was it reading or anaesthetizing?

Even that question isn’t completely adequate, as I know several books more effective than hospital anaesthetics.  But, no matter how often I have fallen asleep to Homer’s Iliad, that book is always a reading experience.  I learn.  I explore.  I find new ways to look at my life, my education, and all sorts of literature.

I read prolifically.  However, I tend to read anaesthetics.  Partially, this is directly related to when I read: at work and/or at night, when my concentration is split or not up to par.  I read these books because my brain can check out.  Often, they are children’s literature, although you will never catch me saying that children’s literature cannot be books.  The other reason I tend to read these books is that, when I was in college, I needed the break.  Pleasure reading was my refuge and refuge could not be too difficult to process or my brain would check out during my studies. 

However, now that I am temporarily out of school, this is not a good habit to make.  One of my professors said that no one can be a good writer without being a good reader.  I am not sure I believe that to be a universal truth, but I do know that I cannot be a writer without being a reader, much less a good one.  So, I have a new goal for my reading (which will hopefully reflect in my writing): to read just as prolifically as before, but to read at least one book a week.  By the end of the year, I still will have read a ridiculous amount, but fifty of them will have been books that have challenged me to think and explore my universe.  At the very least, my brain won’t be checking out so often and I’ll be getting out of my comfort zone.

This is a good place to be as a writer.

Happy reading!



2blu2btru says:

I know exactly what you mean. I read a lot of books, but they are usually Harlequin romance novels or other easy to read paperbacks. I used to read them because I “needed a break” from Literary Criticism or high brow literature for my English Literature track in college. In my New Year’s Resolutions, I resolved to add back in “real” books to help with my reading and writing. I haven’t chosen my first real book yet, but I’m leaning toward Eat, Pray, Love (may as well ease into this whole “real book” thing, right?) Good luck with your resolution. 🙂

rjlouise says:

Thanks! I’m kind of easing into my resolution as well, with Busting Vegas, which has been reported to be half-fiction/ half-truth. However, it’s definitely way outside the style and subject matter that I usually read, so it’s a start. I started my “mush brain” reading for the same reason in college (English Literature w/ a Classics minor . . . soooo much reading). Ever try pleasure reading The Picture of Dorian Gray while reading The Bostonians? I ADORE Wilde and still couldn’t do it. And Lit Crit, as a class, is evil. Flat out. No exceptions. I only learned to love the discipline long after I was no longer suffering through learning about each individual sub-genre of it. >P Good luck with getting back into your reading as well!

[…] Begun, is my writing blog and though it was helpful in this venture, it really was a specific entry that combined with Sisters to make this […]

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