I love reading. Give me a good adventure, with lost treasure, hidden secrets, characters who solve clues and save the world, and I’m happy. I’ve just finished reading the final book in Simon Toyne’s ‘Sancti’ trilogy, ‘The Tower’. Fantastic ending to a great story.
The problem for me is an inability to multitask when it comes to reading and writing. I can’t write and read fiction, it has to be one or the other. So I decided to take a week off from writing (it stretched into ten days, but never mind) to catch up on a few books that had caught my eye and were stockpiled for a bookfest.
I really envy writers who can divide their time between reading and writing, and I’ve tried to work out why I can’t do it. I think it has something to do with having a very visual imagination. When I write I don’t see the words, I see action and characters and just describe what I’m seeing and hearing. I do the same when I’m reading. I translate words into images from the page to such an extent that I am usually unaware of the writing, on a conscious level (unless it’s really bad or stunningly good). So reading and writing demand a similar level of creative input from me.
Non-fiction is a different kettle of fish. I can speed read research material for articles, switch between that and writing my own stuff, with no problem at all. But for that I concentrate solely on written language, there is little or no visualisation. I am dealing with facts, not being actively creative. It would be interesting to see which bits of my brain light up when I write fiction and non-fiction. I have a feeling there would be quite a marked difference in the areas of the brain involved in each activity.
The other problem I have with reading is that, once started, I have real problems putting a book down. As I like novels of at least 400 pages, this causes some issues with basic life support systems like food shopping, cooking and maintaining a decent level of order in the house. But it all gets sorted out in the end.
Anyway, I’ve had my time out, read a lot of books that have taken me all around the world, exploring the secrets of dead cultures, perpetrators of evil deeds and heroes who foil their dastardly plans. It’s been fun, but I’m ready to get back to my own adventures now.