What is it about reading?
In primary school I always called myself a reader. But it kind of fizzled out in highschool. Even though I said I still loved to read, only thing was I was well, beginning to feel like a hypocrite sitting in year ten English and considering taking year 11 literature.
I mean I began writing seriously in year nine trying to hone my pathetic skill into something half-decent, and that was hard. I looked everywhere for advice about writing. It took me a while to figure out you’re better off focussing on what you want to write and how to write it well rather than meandering your way around all the conflicting advice you might get. Sure some was helpful, like my all time favourite, ‘read the genre that you want to write in. Read and read and read.’ Now that was helpful. And sure enough with that little piece of advice I decided to find a place to start. I knew what I wanted to write, YA, since well, I can relate, and Fantasy, I mean, who doesn’t want to be the master of a universe?
Like the complete amateur that I am (since my trips to the library were infrequent due to the fact that the library itself was located beyond a walking distance, a real pain in the ass!) I clicked on google and searched the ‘top ten YA novels’ and I got lists.
The first list I remember had The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, plus several others I can’t remember. Either way, these were the four that really got me excited. I mean, seriously that feeling after you read a really good book, the shivers, and the unexpected lightness (if it’s a happy story) or the unfounded sorrow (if it’s really sad), and the whole blow your mind feeling? It actually exists and I get it all the time.
Then I figured I knew what I was doing, easy, just search for some more lists on google. Bah! If only it was that easy. Someone should have told me there were other ways to find good books…I figured it out though. I mean I still borrowed from those list, but eventually I ran out of lists (which is hard to believe since I can’t have possibly read everything yet).
At first I became obsessed with Fantastic Fiction but I soon realised it wasn’t really a good place to go for reviews (mind you, I was just looking for books, and I was kind of a newbie to everything, still am! Nothing takes overnight to truly understand, lol) so I looked again. And I found Goodreads, or well, it found me, popping up all the time in google…
And all of a sudden I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the massive resource that Goodreads is. They have lists (Some great, some just really not that great, and others that are in between) and book reviews and quizzes and everything! It’s like I fell down the rabbit hole and returned enlightened O.O .
But I’m so glad I did, I’m reading more than ever which is really good, or at least I’m reading whenever I don’t have some cray-assed essay or assignment or exam to do.
I’ve even mastered the art of pushing through even the worst of books. Seriously this is an art that takes years to cultivate – meaning, sometimes there are books not worth reading, because they fail to your attention to begin with. You just want to put it down. Sometimes you push through because you read the first book, or because your friend suggested it. Other times, you just sigh and put it down, never ever looking at it again becuase it’s such a painful read. Well. I’ve mastered pushing through even the most tiresome books, only because then I have something to write about afterwards. It’s really weird. I feel enlightened (however much the exaggeration) knowing that I can read any book given to me whether I like it or not. It has seriously shown me my own narrowed perception of writing and reading.
I mean by reading the books I might not like much (or in some cases I might not like the first 2/3 – looking at you Crossed) I see what I don’t like, which in turn reflects on what I wouldn’t write. This is really helpful because it helps narrow down your own style of writing. Which is something I hadn’t an inkling about to begin with. Even seeing how a character is portrayed, whether the writing brings out the personality or another character brings out the personality, it’s really amazing. And very useful.
So reading, for me is like a stage of development. A continuous stage of development that will go on for as long as I write, or even after I stop writing. Sure sometimes it’s better to perceive the world for yourself, but what if you can’t? Then reading becomes a conduit for seeing the world.
Reading is anything. It can be a mode of research (though that really depends…), a past time , something for leisure, or a job, something for fun…