Never Trust a Writer Who Doesn’t Read

I would make a terrible professional reviewer.

For one thing, I’m too slow. I’d never get paid.

Also, I only read things that interest me, and if I lose that interest, often I won’t finish the book.

(Take, for instance, the painfully beautiful The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I read the first chapter online, got sucked in, asked for it as an anniversary present and then stopped halfway through, just as it was getting good. Why? Maybe Mabel’s completely justified negative attitude toward nature finally got on my nerves, who knows. Perhaps I’ll pick it back up someday and find out.)

I don’t read deep enough within the confines of a genre to be any sort of expert on anything (except Sub-Roman Britain, I am proud to say, and who the heck even knows what that is?)

I don’t even read new books, or popular ones. My ticket for the bandwagon got lost somewhere with my notice for what exactly is a hashtag. And important books? Calling someone “the most important author under 35 writing with a quill in the second decade of the twenty-first century” is more than enough to make me press the snooze button.

My opinions on the books I read aren’t even that reliable. My first impressions are almost always wrong. Either I’ll love a book and later realize I was delusional, or I’ll slog through something, only to come to the conclusion that it says everything I wish I could and should be embossed in gold and preserved in amber. Maybe I read with my Empathy Switch turned up to eleven, I don’t know. My head and my heart aren’t always connected.

(Another example: back in 2007 I wrote a review for a now-defunct YA blog about Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian that pretty much revealed how much I didn’t get YA at all. I liked the story, but the writing annoyed me. Since then, I’ve reread the book as well as dipped into Alexie’s other work. Suffice to say I was definitely wrong the first time around.)

Even so, I feel compelled to talk about the books I love, as well as the ones I just don’t get. Not because I feel my opinion is important, but because I love books. Never trust a writer who doesn’t read, and how will you know if she reads if she doesn’t talk about books?

So every once in a while I will bring to you a book report of sorts, less of a Kirkus and more of a personal reflection, how I reacted to the story and what it means to me, from a writer’s perspective. Since everything that comes out had to first go in, everything I write is because I absolutely cannot stop myself from reading. Isn’t that the point of books? It’s communication. I’d just like to add a little to the conversation.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Never Trust a Writer Who Doesn’t Read

  1. Comforting to know I am not alone with giving up halfway during a book. Except I think my cause is procrastination. Haha. Nice read, Amy.

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