Thursday, December 6, 2007

Books, Books, Movies and Books

Beside my bed is a table and on that table are, currently, 5 novels I want to read (e.g. "Someone Like You," "Waiting for Normal," "This Lullaby").

In my living room is a bookshelf and on that bookshelf are, currently, 10 novels I want to read and/or reread (e.g. "Lisey's Story," "Prey," "Stupid White Men").

And in my brain is a list of at least a dozen more that I still have to purchase, borrow from friends, or take out on loan from the library. Some of these are based on movies that have come out or will be coming out soon (e.g. "I Am Legend," "No Country for Old Men," "The Golden Compass"). Some are just books I've heard about that I really want to read (e.g. "13 Reasons Why," "The Luxe," "Wicked Lovely").

As you can see, they range from mainstream commercial fiction like Michael Crichton and Stephen King to YA like Sarah Dessen and Jay Asher to literary fiction like Cormac McCarthy. I don't know what category Philip Pullman falls under but I am dying to read the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Fascinating concepts and a series I wouldn't normally touch due to its high degree of what I call "black cover fantasy," that is, those books that usually have black covers with raised lettering, usually in gothic script, and have a complex, highly detailed visual image.

I usually don't like those at all.

I thought for sure I would have time to read a lot over the past few months but the thing is I have been writing and I can't write and read at the same time. Not that I get influenced by the style or stories of other writers; I just get depressed. I am usually reading excellent material and I think "oh god, I can't write nearly as well as this" and "my story and characters are totally stupid compared to this" so it's best that I leave the reading to the rewrite process when I can become inspired to improve rather than dump my book.

Remember that wonderful yet oh-so-sad episode of The Twilight Zone where Burgesss Meredith is a voracious reader who survives a bomb blast because he's reading inside a bank vault and he finally has all the time in the world to read - and then he breaks his glasses and can't see? (The classic O. Henry twist ending.) Love that episode. I sometimes feel like that.

Your Hollywood connection,