It is so nice to be done with school for three weeks that it's ridiculous. Currently getting adjusted to having all this new found spare time. Homework filled in about every waking moment when I wasn't involved in going to class, writing blogs, reading, or just writing/revising in general. However, it was a very fun semester, I enjoyed all my classes and the experiences I've been through and learned from. I hope the pace will keep up when next semester starts. So far, each semester has been better than the last.
Now that I have more free time, I've been reading a lot more. I'm currently digging into the Harry Potter series and have really enjoyed it. Just finished reading book 3 (Prisoner of Azkaban), and it has been really interesting to see how the books have progressed. Already I can tell the writing matures with each book, and I've also noticed is how structurally different Prisoner of Azkaban is from the first two. I don't mean as in the material of the story, but how the book progresses. What happens in a 300 page story moves along at a much quicker pace than something that is 400+ pages.
I love reading. I sometimes don't get to it as much as I would like because I get caught up in revising my own novel or writing a new piece. When I read a good book, I start off reading the words, but after a while I'm lifted away and I'm no longer looking at the words, but watching a world progress before my eyes.
A good way to look at it is in The Matrix. Cipher, the bloke who worked with Smith to hand over Morpheus and killed a bunch of side characters, is doing some mysterious work in front of the console where Tank would be while the MCs would be plugged in. Neo walks up from behind and they start talking. I like when Neo asks, "Do you always look at in code?" referring to the Matrix stream in front of Cipher, who responds, "Well that's how you have to look at it. You get use to it, I don't even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, redhead..."
This is how reading is for me.
I'm not a speed reader by any means. It takes me a little under an hour and a half to read 50+ pages. Of course, I do a lot more when reading, I analyze how things are put together, how tight the writing is, elements used (suspense, description of surroundings, wording of sentences, foreshadowing, character development), I even go back in the story sometimes to read over parts I may have missed or just to reread. I read for the enjoyment, reading provides me with fuel and inspiration to write better.
The best part about reading Harry Potter is how the characters progress and change as I go through the books. The questions presented and left alone until future books, the foreshadowing, the patience of exposing a little bit at a time instead of letting it all out at once. The kinds of things used to keep a reader interested in what will happen in the next book. These are things I'm learning for my trilogy I have rolling around in my head. Reading fiction is a lot like creative research, it never hurts to study as much as you can. Throughout the next three weeks, I will binge read like I did during summer. The other night, I laid down and read for three hours. I couldn't put the book down it was so good, and I came out feeling great.
Reading is an adventure, reading is exercise for the brain. Reading is the thing that keeps our imaginations alive and young. Without it, life would not be anywhere near as interesting. Reading, writing, and music, theses are the three things in my life that keep me going. Music provides me with inspiration and motivation, but that is for another blog post.
So, my fellow blog readers, what does reading serve for you? I'm always interested to hear other people talk about why they read. Do you read to get away? Do you read to study the craft? Do you read because it fuels you?