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TSS: Influential Books

Do you ever find that, while or after reading particular books, that the author’s prose starts to change your own thoughts?

This is happening to me right now with The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I’m not sure if the way that Harbach writes just fits too perfectly into my subconscious, or whether the existential nature of the characters’ thoughts simply suits what has been happening in my mind at the moment, but this isn’t the first time that it’s happened. In fact, I often find my writing starts to echo others’ as well, depending on how drawn I am to the book. For me, this only happens with thoughtful, musing, almost quiet authors – a style that I think suits my own, when I actually manage to write fiction. But I’m never quite sure if this only affects me, or whether it’s a wide-ranging phenomenon.

At the same time, maybe it’s because I’m reading so much. December was a relatively quiet month for my reading; I spent two full weeks immersed in video games instead. I became temporarily obsessed with Mass Effect, and then its sequel, Mass Effect 2, on the Xbox 360, and as a result read barely a word over the whole period because the games sucked up my free time. (Seriously, if you want a ridiculously epic science fiction RPG, look no further than those two). I feel as though that break was exceptionally good for my reading, though, as I’ve finished nearly five books this year so far, and it’s only been a week – and two of them have been serious, thoughtful chunksters.

All this goes to say, really, is that sometimes a break, even from a lifelong hobby, is necessary. I’m sure it helps that all five have been my own books, not inspired by any mind but my own. At some point this year, I’ll have to get back on the review book wagon and go through a few that are released in the next few weeks, but not yet. For now, I am going to enjoy the renewal of my reading mojo while it lasts.

How has the first week of 2012 been for you, reading-wise?

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9 comments to TSS: Influential Books

  • Readings been pretty good so far. I think starting the TBR Double Dare really helped. It’s a bit silly, but starting a “challenge” is always kind of fun–gets me reading–finishing them can be not as much fun.

  • Five books? Sheesh. I’ve ready four short stories, part of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 2, and thought I was doing well…until I read your post. :P

  • I’m not sure an author’s prose has changed my thoughts, but it has certainly invaded my thoughts many times. I’m glad you’re having so much fun reading!

  • Prose affecting my thoughts? Happens to me all the time. Well, not all the time, but often enough that I notice, especially when it comes time to right the review. Seems to happen with highly lyrical writers like Catherynne Valente, or very gritty writers like Joe Abercrombie or Daniel Polansky. With Valente, I’m talking (and writing) all metaphorically and flourished, where with the gritty guys after reading their stuff I have a worse potty mouth than usual.

  • lol yes this totally happens to me!

    I haven’t had much time for reading this week, but it’s okay, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read!

  • I very nearly bought The Art of Fielding on Saturday, when I nipped in to my local Waterstones, while I waited for a bus. I suspect that I’ll buy a copy sooner than later.

  • Molly

    Hmmmm….I’m wondering if I should start playing video games? I have been out of the reading mood for nearly a year and I would like to give it a jump start :)

    I am hoping to read through the Harry Potter series for the first time this year and hopefully that will get me back on track.

  • My first reading week of 2012 has been very good. I started with an interestign review copy but I don’t like lots of new authors/books in a row so afterwards I polished off another Agatha Raisin novel (one of my ultimate cosey reads). And now I’ve just started another review copy book. It would seem I’ve got a little pattern going :-)

  • That happens to me, but only with certain authors who have a very very strong voice, like Barbara Michaels. It used to happen a lot more, but I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve settled into my writer’s voice now and aren’t as influenced by other writers’ styles as I used to be.

    My reading isn’t going that great so far! I haven’t even made it 1/2 way through a 250 page category romance yet, and I’ve been reading it for days. =/