Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Writer Reads

I have a little problem at the moment and thankfully a close friend is going through the same thing.  But the difference is, she’s not a writer so it doesn’t matter to her so much.

You see, I’m finding it difficult to read and this never happens to me.  I always have a book on the go and I take full advantage of any spare minute to throw myself into the plot and get to know the characters.  If I didn’t read, I couldn’t write.

Before I wrote my first novel, I’d done my homework.  Sitting in a school car park for three years meant I had the luxury of peace and I devoured a book a day.  I got to know my genre, knew it like the back of my hand and felt that I’d served my apprenticeship.

It’s important for me to keep up to date with publications, changes in chicklit trends, what’s hot and what’s not.  It’s something I take very seriously.  This includes trawling Amazon for new books, reading other writer’s reviews, downloading books, going to the library and borrowing all the latest lovelies from aforementioned friend.

It’s a part of my job that I enjoy.


So what’s my problem right now?  Well, I seem to have the attention span of a bulimic gnat.  Not grabbed me in the very first page?  Forget it - I don’t want to know.  I know I’m not being fair to the authors and that I’ll probably, at some point, go back and love what they’ve written but at the moment I’m like a spoiled child.  ‘Don’t like it!  Don’t want it!’

I think part of the trouble is, once you start to write you never read a book in the same way.  Sometimes I’m able to take my writer’s hat off and read for pure unadulterated pleasure but other times I’m always thinking ‘writer thoughts’.

Oooh, I like how she did that part.
Would I have used the commas in those places?
What a fantastic twist - how clever of her to keep me in the dark.
Good grief!  How many times can she tell the same story?

I long for the day to return when I pick up a book and don’t want to put it down - when I’m eagerly awaiting the next spare reading moment. But, at the moment, I’m even finding that new books by my favourite authors just aren’t hitting the spot.

Is that them or is it me?

Right now I feel like I’m in reading-limbo, desperately searching for the perfect book to get me back in my groove.  Maybe it’s because I have a head full of my own plot and characters who aren’t willing to share my brain with imposters - who knows?

So, if any of you lovely readers can suggest a chicklit book which you can guarantee will suck me in to its delights within the first page, please save me.

Because me without my nose in a book, just isn’t right.


  1. I have a few suggestions cannot narrow to one, as like picking fav child

    You Had Me at Hello - Mhairi McFarlane - very fresh voice and funny

    The Quintessential Gemini - Linn B Halton - chick lit with a twist

    Before I Met You - Lisa Jewell - a little more serious that Lisa's earlier chick lit

    We all have reading blocks. I tend to leave reading for a couple of days and get lost in TV. Soon get back to reading . :)


    1. Thanks Carol.
      Yes I've heard a lot about 'You Had Me at Hello' - will check it out.
      I usually love Lisa Jewell but 'Before I Met You' is one of my discarded ones at the moment! Just found it was too slow for my needs right now!!!
      Thanks for the tips - will check the others out and, yes, TV may be the way to go for a while.
      Amanda x

  2. I've been like this too, Amanda.
    You know the book I read last week and enjoyed, it was one of the first in a while.
    Luckily I also read Cupcakes at Carringtons and mixed it up with The Real Ladies Detective Agency which was fantastic as for me it was a real change of genre.
    I think I read too much, as I can sniff a twist from the word go and it seems nothing is left as a surprise to me anymore. I think that also comes from writing.
    I've just read Susan Lewis' No Child Of Mine. That was brilliant, if not challenging subject matter (paedophile ring) but it is worth a read and I found it engaging from the beginning!
    Also, do try The Real Ladies Detective Agency, it's true life but could provide great subject matter for you!

  3. Thanks Donna. Funny how we both read 'that book' and had such different opinions! The thing was, it grabbed me and suckered me in - which was great - but then I felt let down!
    I know what you mean about 'reading too much' and as for sniffing out twists - tell me about it!
    Hugs xx

  4. I'm not a chicklit reader, but I enjoyed Talli Roland: Build a Man and then Construct a Couple. You could also wonder off the chicklit path and try another genre? Some of us write a mean YA book!! JUst sayin'

  5. Thanks Carol - lovely to see you here oh Holy Pope One! I may well take your advice and stray off the path - if I do, you will be my first port of call :) x

  6. Maybe you've grown up and moved on a bit. When you're writing a book read something completely different. Why not? Poetry? Biography? Anything but the usual stuff. Me, when I'm mid book-writing, I go to bed and do the Guardian crossword.

  7. Thanks Judy - yes when I'm mid book-writing I tend to go to bed and crash!

  8. I'm having the same problem as well. Two things, one, I think I have moved on from chicklit, I think we need a new genre - mummyhavingamidlifecrisis-lit, and secondly i don't read much fiction now I prefer non-fiction. Try Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead.