As a writer, one of the most important things for me to do is to keep reading. I need to see how other authors have done it in the past - how they've created worlds, characters, suspense, phrases, plot, and words. Aside from actually writing, it is the single most important way to improve my abilities.
I have read a total of six books this year - that's just more than one book per month. It's kind of pathetic compared to my usual track record. Along with that, I've had a pretty terrible case of reading apathy since the last book I finished. Thankfully, yesterday I got back into it again with Jem by Frederik Pohl, which won the National Book Award - one of few science fictions to do so.
But this book will only last me so long. Part of the reason I've been reading less is my new job, I think - it's the first bookstore I've worked at that doesn't have a check-out policy for its employees. Yes, I could take something home, but it's highly discouraged, and as a new employee, I don't want to put my employment at risk. (No, I would not get fired for something like that, but these are uncertain times. If I can avoid getting frowny faces from my boss, I will do so.)
What does all that mean? It means freakin' finally going to the library to check out a book. I've had a library card since we moved here, and I still haven't used it on books. For shame. I plan to check out a whole slough of books once I finish Jem, and hopefully one or two of them will stick.
Things I plan to bring home (provided the library has them) include:
Home by Marilynne Robinson
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Passage of Darkness by Wade Davis
How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel
Kwaidan by Lafcadio Hearn
Hopefully, this will get me back into the glorious habit of reading again.