Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reading As A Writer

I've been addicted to books as long as I've been able to read them. How I read books, however, has changed over the years. Most significantly, when I began writing my taste in books and what I appreciate changed dramatically. I suddenly became a far more critical reader. 

On one hand I mourn those days when a book was simply an escape that I appreciated without thought. On the other hand, I appreciate a good book so much more now because I realize how much goes into every page. I adore when an author can silence my inner editor and suck me into a story so deeply that I don't want to come up for air.

As a writer, I want to study my favorite books and deconstruct them to see how their authors created that particular alchemy that I adore. But I never succeed, even on the 15th read through, because I get lost in the story every time. I find myself appreciating a turn of phrase, a particularly well done description or a zingy bit of dialogue with more pleasure these days. And those moments of appreciation are always followed by a tiny sigh of envy. One day I will write something that makes a reader fall in love. One day I'll write a description that makes another author pause and say "damn, I wish I'd thought of that."

I'm an unabashed book addict and while my friends may fan-girl actors and actresses, for me authors are the celebrities I make an idiot of myself over. That makes me happy in an extremely nerdy way. I'd take a lunch date with Maggie Stiefvater over a chat session with this week's movie star any day.

Books are pure magic when they connect with you as a reader. That's something that hasn't changed and I hope never will. My reading these days is both aspirational and inspirational. But I'll always be a fan girl at heart.

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