Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reading as a writer.

Today I went to Barnes while trying to kill some time before dinner. Spent a good couple of hours walking through the fiction & literature section, going through it shelf by shelf, trying to pick out classics that I had to read. Almost finished the whole thing too, had one more aisle left before going.

What I really wanted to note though, was that I walked by a book that caught my eye: Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. It's a book basically written for someone like me, who is trying desperately to read to become a better writer. I almost picked up a copy - in fact, I probably should have, but the thought of throwing that book ON TOP of the many I'm trying to juggle these days was tiresome.

[Side note: at this point I'm juggling multiple books - 1) Fiction novel for fun 2) Short story collection - and thinking that I should also throw into the mix 3) A classic novel without waiting to finish the fun stuff, otherwise I'll never get to it 4) A book on craft, notably, McKee's Story. A 5th book on HOW to read is just... too much.]

The book however, had a great list of essentials in the back, similar to what I'm doing here. But it was extensive, and looking through it hurt my eyes. Made me anxious. I am so so so behind on my reading, and I wish I were more well-read than I am. For instance, I've never read any Hemmingway, Austen, Lawrence, Dickens (besides A Christmas Carol which hardly counts), Dostoevsky, etc etc. None of the classics. I haven't read any short stories by any of the famous guys, either. I feel like I need to buy up all of Barnes. So I kind of want to buy this book, just to get some direction.

However, at the same time, I kind of like just picking through my own list, going by suggestions, and trying to get what I can out of each novel on my own. I know I'm undertaking something quite ambitious here, but I almost wonder if trying to read every book on Prose's list will make me even more anxious than I already am, because her list also doesn't include a lot that are on my list. So a balance eh? Still might be useful to have her book, so I may decide to pick it up at some point and read it when I have time. I'm trying really hard here to be more well-read.

Though, currently, I am sort of cheating by reading Murakami, who I've already read plenty of. [And loving Wild Sheep Chase so far, but I've yet to be disappointed by Murakami yet] But okay, I'm promising myself. D.H. Lawrence is going next.

By the way, being in Barnes is always so inspiring to me.

1 drops:

moonrat said...

poor thing. so many external pressures. make sure you're still enjoying yourself.

(same boat)

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