Now that I'm trying to start writing a novel, there's an almost academic sense in which I approach my reading. I'm trying, of course, to take note of what is successful, what I like, what I don't, who I aspire to be, what I personally find palatable, what can be done that other people have done that you can get away with.
I am reading Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana right now, and I love his ridiculous amount of knowledge vomit, which of course, comes with the condition that his poor character has (which I also love, because I was a psych major in college, and I've always wanted to write novels about people with abnormal psychological conditions). I'm only 20 pages in, but it's quirky and strange and maybe overly verbose, but funny and it works.
Randomness: Before it got warm and staying indoors was unbearable, I spent a good amount of time on weekends in a Starbucks right next door to a Barnes. This was my routine - walk into Barnes and spend 20 minutes browsing before schlepping next door and sitting down to write for a good four to five hours (or more). The reason I went into Barnes first, always, was because it not only inspired me, but also gave me hope. Looking at all the books surrounding me, I thought, there are so many books here. So many people have already made it. Why can't I be one of them too?
When everyone tells me how difficult it is to make it, I choose to go into Barnes and surround myself by the hundreds and thousands of books that tell me at least this many people have already made it.