Reading Again

I used to read a lot.  It used to be one of my main activities, actually, I spent a lot of time reading and I read very quickly.

For a number of reasons I stopped reading after I started writing full-time.  It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just seemed that I could either read or write, but not both.  When I am working on a book, I seem to lose my ability to follow someone else’s story.

I keep buying books, however, so I have a huge backlog of books on my Kindle that I haven’t read, or have just read a bit of.  I keep saying I’ll get around to them someday, and I probably will.  Eventually.

Yesterday I took a half day off work.  My job is very generous vacation time, and I tend not to take off long stretches of time, so I take a lot of half-days and long weekends.  Yesterday I had a killer sinus headache, so I went to my boss and he said I could clock out at 11:00 and go home.

I ended up spending a lot of yesterday sleeping.  I have always been a very light sleeper, and I get up a lot. The night before my cats were particularly rambunctious, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep.  Yesterday I took an epic nap, from maybe 1 pm to 5 pm.

I also started reading one of the books I have on my Kindle, and for the first time in a long time I got sucked into the story.
51acguZNAqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_ The book is American Ghoul, by Walt Morton.

I don’t want to talk it up too much, or make you think that this one book has magically cured my “reader’s block”.

I do want to say that (so far, I am 28% into it) it is very well written and contains a lot of elements that appeal to me personally.

First off, it’s about a teenager in the late 1970’s, which is when I was a teenager.  So I can relate.

Next, the kid loses his parents on his 17th birthday and has to go live with his creepy grandmother in New Jersey, so right off the bat the author builds sympathy.

Then there’s the fact that he is literally a ghoul–he has to eat human flesh to survive. The author describes it as a hereditary condition where the ghoul’s bodies are unable to produce certain proteins.  The science isn’t labored, the author doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the biochemistry, just gives us enough that it’s believable.

Oh, and the narrator’s name is “Howard Pickman”, which instantly endears him to a Lovecraft geek like me.  There are a lot of little bit of horror classics inserted into the names and places, not enough to be intrusive, just the occasional “hey!  I got that!” moment.

This book blurs genres, it has elements that could be considered YA, but probably wouldn’t make a lot of YA reading lists both because of the time period and the moral ambiguity of the narrator. (The kid digs up graves and eats dead people, after all.  That’s a bit extreme.) It plays with horror tropes, but turns them inside out by making the hero the monster.  There is a strong science fiction element, as I said the condition is explained as a biological condition, and the character has no magical abilities.   Historical Science Horror Coming Of Age?  Yeah something like that.

Morton is going to have an uphill battle selling this book because it’s hard to classify–boy, can I relate to that!

I said above that I didn’t make a conscious choice to stop reading, but I am going to make a conscious choice to keep reading, this book at least.  I am taking on my massive Jewish/Lutheran Guiltplex and giving myself permission to just enjoy a book without beating myself over not writing.  Let’s see how that works.

It’s research damnit.  Authors are supposed to read, everyone says so.

 

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About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Publishing, On Writing, Who I am and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Reading Again

  1. sknicholls says:

    I can relate to reading and writing at the same time. Same for me with watching TV. Too much TV or reading and I loose my writing stride. I am reading now, and just finished your awesome story, which I will be writing about very soon.

  2. Sue says:

    I find TV and reading inspires me for some of my stories. I’m not a zombie lover. However the book, Husk, written in first person from a man who becomes a zombie is a great read on so many levels.

  3. Elle Knowles says:

    Been reading more for the last few weeks because I missed it! It does take up a lot of precious writing time though.

  4. I sympathize with your reading block. Except for listening to books in my car, I had a hard time dedicating free time to anything but writing. I joined a book club for a while that helped, but I’m finally getting more books in now–reading with my eyes and not just my ears. I started researching more in the genre I’m writing, and suddenly got this great thirst for more. Thank you again for your recommendation!

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