Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reading - A-Z Blogging Challenge

Ah, reading. I know I'm preaching to the choir here but it's brilliant.

I read a lot. Stephen King once heard of an alcoholic who, when asked how much he drnak, looked blankly at his doctor and said 'All of it.' If someone asked me how much I read, I'd say 'All the time.'

I read while I eat, unless I have company. I read on the bus to work (this is why I don't drive to work. It would cut in on my reading time, even if that is only fifteen minutes). Now that I have a Kindle, which lies flat, I read while I knit. I read while the TV is on, unless I'm watching something good. I read on buses, planes, trains, in queues, in waiting rooms, at bus stops. A friend once asked me how I seemed to find so much time to read. I couldn't figure out how he didn't. I spend virtually all of my 'dead time' reading. Unless I'm specifically doing something else (watching TV, spending time with someone, cooking) I'm reading.

I read because I love to read, but also it teaches me how to be a better writer. At the moment, I'm reading a crime novel written in the mid-nineties and, while I'm enjoying it, I'm also enjoying the process of spotting what works for me and what doesn't. For instance, the writer uses this type of sentence construction a lot:

Jack arrived, having stopped off on the way to buy doughnuts.

I probably wouldn't pick up on the fact I hate this if it appeared in my own writing. There's nothing wrong with it. It gets the information across. But I don't happen to like it. I'd rather something that was more showing than telling. 'Jack arrived, clutching a bag of fresh doughnuts.'

In my own writing, I'd read the first sentence and think 'Cool. My reader is up to speed on the Jack-doughnut interaction scenario. Awesome. Now I can continue.' As a reader trying to lose myself in a story, I note that it jars my attention.

Yep, reading is ace. But if you knit, maybe read when you're doing a ribbed scarf rather than an Aran sweater for your boss.

13 comments:

  1. I love to read too, but between my failing eyesight that made reading harder in recent years, my habit of easily distracting myself, and my spending all my spare time writing and promoting my writing, I just never get the time to read these days.

    Actually, even when I am asleep my brain never switches off, and at the weekend when a lie in would be wonderful, at 6am my brain wakes up and causes me to twitch and toss around in bed, annoying my wife, who wants to lie in, and so I end up getting up early.

    However, the upside to this is that I can spend an hour or two in the quiet, catching up on the internet, listening to the birds singing outside, and so it's not all bad.

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  2. You can read while you knit? I've never managed that one. How do you keep the knitting from getting in the way of the book and keep the book open at the same time?
    I'm impressed!

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  3. Tony, I have that kind of brain too - I just can't sleep in! It's brilliant when I'm holidays as I'm always up and about early and miss the crowds, but it isn't so nice on a rainy Sunday :)

    Aoife, I can only read and knit if I read on my Kindle because it lies flat on my lap and I can turn the 'page' by nudging a button with my knuckle. I only do it if I'm knitting something very simple though.

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  4. That settles it. I require a Kindle. Then all I will have to work out is a handsfree icecream dispenser, and life will be just plain perfect.

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  5. Before all these writing courses, I never noticed POV shifts etc. Now I do. Aaaack!!!
    :-)

    Awww but reading has always and continues to be a pleasure!! Yay for reading!

    Now if only I could be brave enough to sign up for some knitting courses..! Take care
    x

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  6. I read all the time, so do my 14 year old daughters. It was a huge and wonderful day for them the day I decided they were old enough to read while eating. I've had to ban it at breakfast time though or they'd never make it to school!

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  7. me too. read that is. all the time. And I'm like you - not getting it when people say 'oh I don't have time to read.' They do go to the bathroom don't they? When I'm driving I listen to audio books. I just can't stop.

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  8. I too fit reading in anywhere I can. I carry book or kindle with me all the time. It comes out in queues...unless I am queuing with someone. Waiting rooms, airports, buses, train and planes. I comes out while waiting for friends to join me at lunch or for coffee. I even make a point to arrive at designated meetings early so I can get a bir of reading in. I can't read while knitting. You have me there.

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  9. I love to read, and read a lot... but I can't read on a bus or in a car. I get carsick. Trains or planes, I'm fine.

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  10. Hi Ellen, first time visitor. I read all the time. And write the rest. We make sure our kids read 15-20 minutes every day too. Reading is FUNdamental.

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  11. Hi Ellen, I'm stopping by via the A-Z linky list. Nice to meet you. :)
    When I read, it's easy to pick out the things I don't like - not so easy to pick out the things I love. I'm always wondering 'how did they do that?'
    Have a nice weekend!

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  12. I love reading! I wish I could read all day. Audiobooks are the only thing that keeps me sane during the traffic-laden drive to and from work. (I live in LA, go figure. :P)
    Great meeting you through the A-Z!
    nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  13. Thanks for all the comments, guys, and welcome to all the new visitors!

    I love seeing so many enthusiastic readers, it really is one my greatest pleasures and it's nice to see it's shared!

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I love comments!