In Game of Thrones, John Snow asks Tyrion Lannister why he's always reading. "A mind needs books," he says, "like a sword needs a whetstone."
Writers need to read or their writing gets stale.
My parents refused to allow us to read comic books (we'd sneak them at friends' houses) but encouraged us to read anything else that struck our fancy. The result was that I turned into an omnivorous reader, devouring both good and bad books without judgment.
When I discovered I could make a living as a "reader" for the movie industry, I felt like I'd been given my heavenly reward early. "I get paid to read books," I told my relatives, who kept asking me what my "real job" was.
And it really is a great job. A great job.I get to read books in manuscript, in galleys, in ARCS, in hard cover. Not only had I read Megan Abbott's The End of Everything before it came out (and was paid for it), I've read her next book too (and liked it). YA is trendy with studios now, as execs hope to cash in on the Twilight frenzy. I read Hunger Games and its sequels for one of my clients, and also Suzanne Collins' earlier books about Gregor the Underlander (which I LOVED).
My clients are interested in genre fiction, so I get sneak peeks at all of Lee Child and Harlen Coben and Linda Fairstein and James Patterson and pretty much anyone who's anyone in the thriller genre. Again. I get paid to do this. But the downside (and it is the ONLY downside) is that I don't have a lot of time for "pleasure reading." Most of the time, that's not a problem because the majority of what I read for clients is material I'd read for free. But every once in awhile, as I cruise the paperback book section in my supermarket, I see books I'd really like to read and know, in my heart, I just don't have time right now.
And I've made a pledge to quit buying books that are just going to sit on my TBR bookcase.
(Because I'm not kidding--I have a six-shelf bookcase that's filled with my TBR collection.)
But the next time I get a vacation, here are some of the books I'm going to catch up with:
False Mermaid and Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart. I LOVED her debut novel, Haunted Ground with its Irish location and wonderful heroine.
A World the Color of Salt by Noreen Ayres. This is the first of a series about a forensic expert who's an ex-stripper named Smokey. Her books have been described as "graphic" and "hard-hitting" and "visceral." My kind of writer and best of all, there are now three books in the series.
All the books in the Cat Marsala series that I haven't read. Cat's a reporter, the creation of Barbara D'Amato. I also can't wait to read Other Eyes, which introduces a forensic archaeologist called Blue Eriksen.
Crime writer Sandra Scoppettone once said nice things about the dialogue in a story I wrote for one of Patricia Abbott's flash fiction challenges. I was just starting out as a fictionista and it meant a lot to me because I'd been a fan of her Lauren Laurano series for YEARS. I'm behind a few books.
I also have a couple of Marcia Muller's books sitting on the shelf. I'm told she's considered the "founder of the female hard-boiled PI novel." So clearly, she should have been on my reading list years ago.
I can't wait.
Now all I need is ...a vacation.