It took a little while before I realized there were two problems. The first was that I hadn't read much in the past couple years. I'd kind of forgotten the joy, even as I tried to guard against the distraction from writing. The second reason, was that I hadn't read very many books that I believed were truly great or challenging. I think I've read a lot of YA books lately - and while I really enjoy them, a lot of them don't have the depth that I'm trying to put in my own book - so I don't come away feeling inspired - just entertained. I've also read a few micro-histories. Super fascinating, and really enjoyable - but so far from what I'm writing that - again- I didn't come away feeling inspired.
I've also grown picky. I can't tell you how many books I've brought home from the library - read two pages and set aside. Being "particular" can be okay - being "picky" just bums you out. So Friday my husband an I went to the library and picked up some books. My to-do list yesterday included "find a book you like and read it!" I did just that. I ended up reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
This book was very enjoyable. It built up with great intrigue. It wasn't a masterpiece. It didn't have quite enough power - but it was one of the better YA books I've read in a long time. What was the most amazing thing about the book, however, was not just the story but the presentation. The book was gorgeous! The cover design, the quality of paper, the page design, the colored chapter pages, and the vintage photos - accompanied with an enjoyable story - had me spending my intermittent thoughts on who might like to receive the book for Christmas! It was absolutely beautiful- the kind of you book want on your shelf because of the way it looks and the way it feels to hold.
The greatest thing about it - it inspired me.
I'm no photographer - I don't intend to try to recreate Ransom Rigg's work of art. However, I rediscovered that a book can be a work of art - a thing of beauty - and I hope to do just that with my writing.
P.S. I woke up today, and my husby says, "We need to finish outlining the rest of the scenes in your book before NaNoWriMo starts." What can I say? I have the best husby ever. I love my Wombat.
Do you find that you have to keep reading to care about writing? Have you read a book recently that inspired you in some aspect of your writing?