Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Reading and Writing...

Writers are told they need to read widely to help improve their own writing, so I decided this year I needed to read a little more variety than I have been doing so far...

When I'm writing historical I will either not read at all or if I do it will be a contemporary romance or a research based topic. If contemporary then I'll indulge my love of historical romance without tainting my own writing with similar sentence construction and character traits.

As a teenager I read a lot of different authors, Wilbur Smith, Graham Greene, Winston Graham and Agatha Christie among them. I devoured their words and styles of writing without any thought of the effect, but as I've got older my choices have become more tailored and I can see the various techniques the writer has used.

Now if a book just doesn't appeal and I can't get into it, then out it goes.

I've decided that's not good, sometimes I need to persevere- it isn't the book's fault (or necessarily the writer's) it's just me.

So, knowing I'm more likely to finish the book if I put it on my e-reader- so I can read it in bite-size sections-I spent a couple of hours perusing the fiction sections of online bookshops.
The thing that became very clear-as far as fiction was concerned- was that crime, romance and erotica have realised the potential of e-books and have ensured their books are out there to be bought and downloaded.

Finally I decided on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, so I paid for and downloaded it instantly.

I've decided I will keep an open mind about it, even though the opening seems a little strange - I read half a dozen pages while waiting for an appointment this afternoon.

Of course I'll still read my favourite Romance authors as well as paperbacks, but I'm going to aim for at least four books this year that I would not have normally chosen.

Any suggestions for future reads?


Teresa Ashby said...

I'm guilty of giving up on a book if I don't like it. Have you ever read anything by Lianne Moriarty? She's become a favourite of mine.

Carolb said...

Thanks for the suggestion Teresa, I will certainly have a look for her books, she is not a writer I've come across yet.

Brenda Gunning said...

Interesting. I look forward to hearing how you get on with "persevering" with a book that you find hard to get in to. I used to struggle on like this sometimes,thinking that I OUGHT to be reading the book. But lately, if I can't get into it in the first few pages then I decide it's not for me. After all, isn't this the way writer's "hook" their reader ?
My suggestion - carry on browsing the book shelves as you have been doing. If a book is for you it will ask to be read. :)

Keith Havers said...

Have you read the modern classics that we're all supposed to have read like To Kill A Mocking Bird and Catcher In The Rye? Kate Mosse is pretty good and there's Stephen Booth of course, our fellow NWC member.
I once went through a time when I thought I ought to read some Walter Scott. I found it as challenging as Shakespeare but persevered for a couple of novels. Never again.

Carolb said...

Lexia, I sometimes wonder if the problem with books not hooking me from the start is just that it isn't the book or style of writing to appeal to me, especially when many others do seem to have grabbed other readers I know.
I like the idea of the book asking to be read. :-)

Dream, I've not read the two you mentioned. I enjoyed reading Alexander Dumas and have a Walter Scott on my e-reader.
After persevering and getting to the end you do know whether it was worth it.

Shauna Bickley said...

A few years ago I realised I didn't read anywhere near as widely as many other writers I knew so decided to keep a note of the shortlisted Booker/Orange/Costa books and work my way through them.
I have found a few hard to get into (and I hate giving up on a book), but it has introduced me to writers who are now on my favourite list, and of course their other books.

Carolb said...

That's certainly encouraging Shauna,thanks.