“You seriously bought a book called Hot Rocks?” my husband asked.
“Yep. It looks good too!”
Most every published author will tell you that you need to read, and read a lot, in order to write. I have always read a lot, but this past year it seems I’ve been reading lots of what would be considered literary fiction, some classics, and lots of non-fiction research and craft books. I keep thinking that I need to read stuff that will improve my writing.
In On Writing, Stephen King advises writers to just read and read a lot. He doesn’t read to improve his craft and even argues that the “bad” books sometimes teach writers more than the “good” ones.
I completely agree with that, but I’ve been focusing so much on learning that I’ve forsaken one of my favorite hobbies, just reading for the pure escape and joy of it.
That is . . . until this weekend.
My son played in a hockey tournament, and on Saturday, we had several hours between games. I live thirty minutes from the rink, so it wasn’t really enough time to go home. We went to lunch, ran some errands, and then I asked my husband to stop by our little local bookstore.
A groan followed by, “Noooooooo, it’ll take fooorrreevvveerrrr,” came wailing from my fourteen-year-old daughter in the backseat. How I gave birth to a child who I would consider a non-reader will always be one of my life’s great mysteries, but I did. My husband, bless his heart, ignored her and pulled into the bookstore parking lot.
“Really, this will just take a minute,” I said before dashing into the store. My daughter, having spent hours with me in bookstores, didn’t believe it at all. She just stared at me with that look that fourteen-year-old girls have perfected especially for their mothers, sort of a mix of resignation and annoyance all covered over with, “Why me?”.
I was out of the store in under six minutes which, for me, is something of a record, and I had exactly what I wanted, a couple of romantic suspense novels: a little mystery, a little sex, a fun story. Perfect.
I spent the rest of the weekend watching three more hockey games, a little football, and snuggling in my chair with tea, a quilt, and my new book. I remembered why I like these quick, light reads. The characters are fun, the dialogue is always witty, and they always have a happy ending.
They’re entertaining! I guess it’s like watching a romantic comedy as opposed to an academy award-winning movie. As an English teacher and lover of good literature, I sometimes get in the mindset that one is “better” than the other, but that’s ridiculous. I get sucked into romantic suspense novels just as much as I get sucked into what would be considered “literature,” sometimes even more so.
I read for a good story, for the entertainment, for the escape. This weekend, I got that. Thanks Nora Roberts. It was just what I needed.