Monday, December 3, 2012

What I read when I'm writing

There's something about writing a lot that makes me want to read a lot. Perhaps it's the intensity of burying myself in the quagmire of my own brain for long periods that makes me long for the light relief of diving into someone else's. Perhaps. Possibly it has more to do with general procrastination...

Anyhoo. During the month of November, whilst I was busy writing 45,643 words for NaNoWriMo (my final count... I know, so close...) on my children's novel, I also read the following books:

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (loved)

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway (okay)

Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin (I love Rebus, and was excited to see him back.)

The Black Box by Michael Connelly (Ditto Harry Bosch.)

A heavy emphasis on crime there. I find that when I'm writing a particular type of book, I tend to read everything but that genre. Using a completely different part of the brain gives the writing muscle a little rest. Or so I convince myself.

I started Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, but so far it has not grabbed me. Which disappoints me, as it has grabbed so many others. Perhaps it just needs more attention...

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read Gone Girl? Did it grab you?


  1. I haven't read Gone Girl, but people tell me I should, which is weird because I don't really like suspense or crime, so maybe they just don't know me very well.

    This month I read The Old Man and the Sea, Olive Kitteridge, The Great Gatsby and something else I can't remember. Now I'm reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, in the literal sense of moving my eyes over the words but understanding very little. It's a big, tough book.

    I wrote a bit about reading and writing on my blog over the weekend. As far as I'm concerned, reading in your genre has all kinds of influence that you don't really want and can totally cripple writing. Good for inspiration, but it's hard not to compare someone else's finished product to your own first draft. Unfortunately I don't know what genre my book is yet, so I read everything and then blow my brains out.

    1. I will go and read your post immediately. I agree with the comparison thing. That's why I read elsewhere.

  2. New Rebus AND Bosch? The very last of the Christmas present shopping will soon be complete! Thanks Allison!

  3. Oh no way!! Gone Girl hasn't grabbed you yet!! Far out I lost two days to that book. The ending was a eeny bit disappointing but the book itself ... soooo much tension. Persist a little further Al.

    In November I read Gone Girl, Secret Keeper, Sisters of Mercy, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, Lice's Wonderland (and another 4 or 5 that would hold zero interest for anyone here!) and I discovered that being riveted in a book is NOT good for writing. I end up reading and not writing!

    PS with Gone Girl ... did it get built up for you? I take note of what books people are talking about, but I don't read reviews or listen when people rave because it always sets me up for disappointment. Maybe someone set you up with Gone Girl?!

  4. I've loved Kate Morton's other books but am yet to read her latest.

    I'm churning through Alafair Burke novels at the moment. (One a day!) I'm a voracious reader and way too obsessive... I'm starting to purposely NOT borrow enough books during the week (ie. only 5!) so I get at least two book-free days (and get to bed at a decent hour!)*

    Haven't read Gone Girl, but have heard good things about it. Like Kate's latest, it's a book I will buy at some stage. Rather than borrow.

    *And yes... I have no life!

  5. Good list! i waited ages in our ocal bookshop to meet Ian Rankin the other day only to realise I had the wrong day. There was an interestijg documentary about him on the other night - really showed the life of a writer and how he still is wracked with self doubt even now.

    I've been reading Tana French's Broken Harbour. Very good. And Penny Hancock's Tideline.

    At last another person who wasn't grabbed by Gone Girl. I didn't really get it. I did race through it though so maybe it was my fault. Maybe I'll hold out for the film.

  6. I haven't read any of those, but I have The Black Box on my kindle, I just haven't got to it yet. I'm currently reading my way through Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, plus a couple of Kathy Reichs.

  7. I downloaded a book's great so far....Alice's Wonderland.....perhaps you've heard of it ;)

  8. So glad to hear another writer say they don't read in their own genre! I have such a lot of trouble with this, and always feel guilty that I haven't read enough of fellow authors' books. But it just messes with my head too much. In fact, I'm reading Tigers in Red Weather right now, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to continue. I like it well enough, but there's a marriage on the rocks and a bored wife, too close to the bone of what I'm working on now.

    But I loved Gone Girl, absolutely devoured it! And like Anna, I don't read usually read crime or suspense. I agree with Kelly, maybe stick with it? There are eye-boggling twists and turns in store.

  9. Do kids' books count? Because that's all I'm reading right now. The pile of grown-up books grows ever taller, but the time hasn't seemed to materialize. Maybe I'll get a few extra hours for Christmas??

  10. I would love to read more. At the moment I am re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
    I haven't read Gone Girl but I do like crime novels so I will have to give it a go.

  11. I haven't been doing much of anything I enjoy lately; reading, writing, blogging, tweeting :( But I am disappointed Gone Girl hasn't grabbed you! I haven't read it yet, but have heard so much about it. I'm still reading James Patterson NYPD red which I started a month ago, I'm really enjoying his writing if only I had more time!


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