Three months into the 2016, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’ve been neglecting my ever-growing reading list for too long, and it looms over me still, growing taller by the second. There are so many stories to read, a hundred thousand different lives to experience, a million new shoes to walk in. I spent most of last year scribbling stories in a frenzied state, outlining plots and sketching out storylines. My brain was operating in Write-Or-Die mode. There was no middle ground. Granted, I wrote some interesting things, some of which I would proudly call good things, but at the end of it, once it was all done and I tried to start again, my own words tasted stale in my mouth, like bread that had been left out too long.
There was a lot of exhaling, and now it’s inhale time. Thus, I am taking the words of Stephen King to heart and have decided that my too-high reading list needs some work. Can’t write well if you don’t read well, and I’m on a quest this year to discover the treasures I’ve let myself miss out on.
Goodreads helps, in its way.
On one hand, the annual reading challenge is similar to the challenges I used to take back in elementary school. I think it was organized by my local library. I’m not sure. I was too young; my memory blurs. Childhood tends to be touched with Lethe-water. We had to read a number of books, where one book was equivalent to 100 words (tame, in retrospect), and if we achieved the goal, we got a coupon for a free pie at Pizza Hut. Pizza is always a great go-to incentive, especially for a kid who loved getting hopped up on mozzarella, but I didn’t really need the bribe-slash-reward. It helped, yes, but I didn’t need it. I would have been reading anyway.
On the other hand, Goodreads has a nasty habit of slyly tapping my shoulder with a little “Psst, hey, hey, check out the million MORE awe-inspiring life-changing books you haven’t read yet.”
I detest you sometimes, Goodreads, but I love you just as much. Counterpoint and balance.
Not to say I have stopped writing, either. Far from it. I’m just not being as gun-to-the-head about it. I find that words and ideas come more easily when I’m not trying to wrench them out of my little grey cells with metaphorical crowbars.
So. Crowbars aside, I’ve got 50 more pages to finish reading Ian McEwan’s ‘Atonement’, so I’m going to get back.
What are you reading?