You just need to read what interests you.
Like most writers, I do a lot of reading. I could probably read more than I do, but when you have three boys who play ice hockey, it becomes a challenge. I usually carry a book everywhere I go, but in case my memory fails, I have iBooks and eKindle on my phone and I always have books on there to read. I even had Oyster for a while until my bank card number was tagged and cancelled in the Home Depot mess, and I got sent a new one and have yet to update my account (I have gotten three new bank cards in the last year, BTW, and updating that shit on all your accounts – three times – really sucks!) And, what is Oyster, you ask? OMG! It’s like Netflix, but with books. However, though I appreciate the convenience of our technology, I love physical books best. I love the way the smooth pages feel under my fingertips and the pulpy, papery smell of the pages. Much like my vinyl albums I refuse to part with, I will always have books.
I like to read just about anything. From the classics to romance novels, but I’m kind of picky. It has to appeal to me in some way. If it’s dark, I’m usually in. If it’s dark and funny, even better. If it’s a classic, and it doesn’t interest me, I won’t read it just to say I did. Like, I will probably never read The Iliad or The Odyssey. They may be excellent books, but they are just not my thing. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty.
I will not force myself to read a book I don’t want to read. And, if I start a book I think I will like and it turns out to be utter shit, I won’t finish it. I was supposed to read Walden by Henry David Thoreau back in college. While I did appreciate the gist of the book and even got a few good quotes from it, it was so boring I struggled to get through even a third of the book, and then couldn’t finish it. It was so painful. I had to take diligent notes in class and read Cliff Notes to write my critique of the book for class, and since it was so long ago, I don’t remember my grade, but I do remember how much I disliked the book.
My favorite books are The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett, and the Harry Potter books.
My guilty pleasure is the romance novels. I don’t care for the modern ones, but I like the regency romances that take place in London, where the protagonist is typically a female who has been put into a compromising situation by some rake of a Duke or Marquess, and the whole book is about how he wants to bone her, but acts disinterested, and she wants him to bone her, but plays hard to get. It’s the same story in every book, with variations in regards to the man’s title and the scandal he drags her into, and they always end the same. I can’t help it though. It started when my boys were little and always wanting my attention, and it was hard to read a book that required actual thought. Now, it’s an addiction that I occasionally get mocked for, but I couldn’t care any less.
My biggest fear is that I will not have enough time to read all the books I want to read while writing all the books I want to write. Like, one day I’m going to be old, and I might die before I read everything I want to or step on my last pair of glasses rendering myself unable to read. Hey, don’t laugh, it’s happened.