It’s an inverse relationship, I fear. The more recreational reading I do the less academic writing I do. This seems obvious. What’s less obvious, is that I really believe the quality of my writing is infinitely better since I’ve been reading such fine books. An advisor of mine a few years back used to say that he did lots of recreational reading just for this benefit. It’s never occured to me until now.
The problem is I’ve hit a bump in the road right now. I’m stalled in several books and can’t find anything that’s really lit me up. I’m in the first quarter of The Night Villa and I absolutley skimmed my way through the entirety of Netherland. These two books couldn’t be more different but I haven’t been hooked by either.
I’m especially disappointed by Netherland and I’m assessing the reasons for this. I’m starting to wonder if I’m no longer able to enjoy books with a male narrator. But then again, that seems preposterous since I adored Oscar Wao. Perhaps I was put off by the post-9/11 thing. Perhaps the whole ex-pat thing? I don’t know. But one of the “Ten Best” of the year was NOT on my list. I could tell why folks might like it since the writing is great, but the story and I just didn’t connect.
So I’m in search of new books that will grab me. So many titles on my ‘to read’ list, but availability my be the problem. I’m really trying to use the library these days or trade books. I know that’s not too helpful for my favorite indie bookstore, but trust me, my resolve not to buy WILL break. 😉 But I need a really great book NOW. The future of my academic writing depends on it!