This is more of a reminder for myself than anything else. I know the usual mantra is “You Should Be Writing,” but in my case, I’ve gotten to the point where the writing itself is not an issue. (I recently told my agent that I could crank out 1,500-2,000 words an hour in first draft mode, and yes that is a check my body can cash. I also don’t find it hard to spend 6-8 consecutive hours at a time revising a piece.)
I’ll never be able to read all the stuff I want to read, or all the stuff I really ought to read (like this year’s Nebula nominees). And let’s not even get started on the stuff I’d love to re-read. But I can read more.
It’s not just the “read widely” thing that everyone recommends. It’s not purely professional (or mercenary) interest. And it’s not just for pleasure, either, though a good book will always remind me of how much I love reading. It’s about knowing what’s out there, learning other stories and voices and people.
Maybe I need a guy to just send me random books, à la Major Bennett Marco’s friend in The Manchurian Candidate. You know, Principles of Modern Banking, History of Piracy, Paintings of Orozco, Modern French Theater, The Jurisprudential Factor of Mafia Administration, Diseases of Horses, novels of Joyce Cary, Ethnic Choices of the Arabs. Things like that.