Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Restless Reading

As Nigra whines at me nightly, I too have become just as restless. I don't know what she wants, and when I stare at my bookshelf, I don't know what I want to read.

I've become restless with my reading. I was 50 pages into "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury, an author I know that I will read someday, but the story takes place in the fall and in October, around Halloween, and it needs to be read then, not in this epileptic weather that is March. I did this with Stephen Kings's "Salem's Lot" and it made the book that much better.

I had reading restlessness a couple of years ago when all that I read was, in my opinion, crap. Nothing satisfied me and I felt like I was trudging through the literary word. I would get through some book like "Choke" by Chuck Palahniuk or "Samedi the Deafness" by Jesse Ball and just get bored. I gave up reading what I thought I "should" be reading and went back to my roots: horror, suspense, thriller, fantasy, weird. I started enjoying reading...and then, I picked up "Harry Potter" and I ruined it for myself. Those books got me so excited, and reading was effortless. I want that again, but I want that with some "literary" book that are so brilliant I'm absorbed, while looking intelligent while reading it.

As I try to add more "literary" books to my repertoire,  every time I pick one up, I just stare at the words. Big. Long. Paragraphs. I used to be able to read anything I sat down with, but lately... I'm getting this thought in my head. This little, mean, green, man is yelling at me: "If you're going to be any kind of writer, you need to read Pulitzer Prize Winners and Nobel Prize winners!"

And then I feel small, like, I'm doing it all wrong.

I used to read just weird books. Horror. Suspense. Sci-fi. Thriller. Weird books. Then, as I got older, I thought, "Hmm...I should begin reading more literary novels."

And so, I began doing that. I picked up novels that had no mystery, that had no fantasy attached to the characters and plot. Then, I realized...BOO! I got bored. I wanted my weird books back.

Here's the problem. In order to write, you need to read. So, do I read literary books? Should I just read what catches my attention? The weird stuff? Should I stop going to the $1 section from Half Price Books and picking up novels I may never read, and stick to ones that I know I will read, instead?

I told someone recently that I was going to stop caring what I picked up to read, that I was going to be unapologetic. I haven't been very good at that. I'm not sorry for liking weird books. I've been putting of the new Stephen King because I've been thinking I should read something "more literary." I've been putting off other young adult stories that I think I would enjoy.

So, it starts today -- I am not sorry for what I read. And guess what? I've started to read a cook book, and I think I will begin reading more of them.