Fuel matters: what are you reading?

Mission Bay

I celebrated my birthday last week by visiting San Diego and sitting by the water. I read by the pool, I read on the lounge chairs by the marina, I read on the blanket while watching the kids search for shells. And I know for a fact that it helped me to become a better writer, every word of it.

Makes sense that if you want to be a good writer, you must read. Ask a room full of authors and they’ll tell you to read, read, read. The only way to see how people use the written word in such a wonderful way is to examine it for yourself. Do you have a favorite author? I tend to spend too much time reading and not writing, but I look at it as research. Especially in the summer, when my energy level is at an all-time low and it’s 111 degrees outside (like today).

Buying the iPad has just made my reading habit even worse. When I’m at a standstill, I’ve got a library of books at my fingertips along with the actual library of unread books next to my desk. I see books as a fresh beginning, like dating someone new or meeting a new friend. I look at the cover and read the intro, expecting to be bowled over. I can’t wait to learn about the characters and get into their lives. The anticipation of a new book is almost more exciting than the actual book. (Oh, that sounds sad, doesn’t it? But it is the truth.) Sometimes I’m so disappointed in a book I want to love, just like meeting someone you expect to be so interesting and they turn out to be a dud with a personality like vanilla pudding.

So, I’m looking to add to my collection and build up the anticipation. Tell me, what are you reading? Do you love it? Do you recommend it? Do you get as excited about a new book as I do?


9 thoughts on “Fuel matters: what are you reading?

  1. You’ve expressed well just how I feel about new books. I’m currently reading Carl Hiaasen’s Star Island — I enjoy his look into the fun and folly that seems to be Florida. I’ve always liked Sharon McCrumb for her spare writing and thinking of her has made be check out her latest on Amazon and immediately buy it. Thanks for stirring my thoughts!

    • Thanks, Christia. I do feel as if new books are like new friends. And once we find one that we truly like, we want more from that author, just like wanting to spend more time with a good friend. I love book clubs for that reason since some of those are books I would never have read without prodding. Husband took the photo of me…pretty good, huh? And btw, that cup has white wine it in (he he).

    • Christia,
      A friend turned me on to Hiaasen last year. The guy’s a smart funny writer. His stories move along nicely.

      I just finished To Kill a Mockingbird after reading Hiaasen’s Tourist Season. Very different books, but both well worth the read. I cannot believe it’s taken me forty years to read Harper Lee’s classic.

      I am now delving into Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates for the third time. Hopefully it becomes the charm.

      Valerie, found your blog via Twitter #ff!

      • Wow, I love #FF. Glad you found the blog.
        I think the only Hiaasen I’ve read were his MG books with my kids. I’ll have to pick up the “Big Girl books.” Loved To Kill a Mockingbird, good choice.

  2. Did someone say books? Oh how I love them. I love the smell, the crack of the fresh binding… Oh, sorry, I got off track – HEHE.

    I blogged today about a series of books I finished reading a short time ago by Lois Lowry. They were fantastic books and rather quick reads, which seems to fit my schedule best right now. Even though they are meant for YA readers, I found a deeper level that I could relate to as an adult. I also love Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. From a technical perspective, the language is phenomenal and the character and plot developments are spot on, but it is a looonnnnngggggg slow read and I only address a few pages at a time so that I can really study the actual form of the literature. Reading this one is an ongoing project that serves the purpose of literature study more than the actual need to immerse myself in the story. That said, the story is complex enough to keep me engaged.

    • I totally agree on Lois Lowry and commented on your blog to that effect. I have a question though, are you reading Atlas Shrugged because it’s literature and you should, or because you want to? I question sometimes why people read some things, even though they have to force themselves to finish. I just can’t do that most of the time. If it’s keeping you engaged, then I suppose that’s my answer!

      • Originally I set out to read Atlas Shrugged because I was told it was an excellent example of what fine writing is all about and to that I confess it was a read I wasn’t looking forward to. However, I did find the characters engaging and especially the character Dagny who fights to lift the burden of the glass ceiling in a man’s industry. I was in a similar situation in business and so I grew to understand the character and started to cheer her on. Nonetheless I have to stay focused on the task when reading, which is to learn how to write as clearly as Rand, so I don’t allow myself to get swept away by the story.

        I love to read and that often makes it hard to read for study, so I always set a few books aside for that purpose, but the number I read for the pure enjoyment far outnumber the ones I dissect. If I absolutely detest a book I usually don’t finish it and donate it to Goodwill or the SPCA.

  3. Jonathan, I’ve finished “Star Island” by Hiaasen and would happily mail it to you for you to read and then pass one to whomever you’d like. E-mail me at botug109@yahoo.com if you’re interested. Also, I just read the Wiki link you had to Anubis Gates off your blog and it sounds intriguing — now on my list of books to get! Thanks.

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