Do You Lie When People Ask You What You Are Reading?

By , October 10, 2011 12:00 am


"Indie Anxiety" by MMRule

"Indie Anxiety" by MMRule

 

What are you reading?

While it may seem innocuous to ask someone what he or she is reading, I struggle to participate in the What are you reading? water cooler banter.

 

It may seem strange for me to say that I dread when people ask me what I’m reading.  As an aspiring author, I treat reading and writing like a second full time job.  But despite the amount of time I spend in front of paragraphs and pages, I find myself often embarrassed to admit what exactly I’m thumbing through in my spare time.

 

Are you an unconventional reader?

Since I’m working on the pacing and opening of my novel, my pleasure reading so far this month has included choice excerpts from On Writing; every scene in Carrie that involves Chris Hargensen; and the first chapter of the Exorcist, 1984, and every Stephen King novel I own.

 

Oh yeah, and I’m reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  At least that is what I told my dentist despite the fact that I haven’t had a chance to pick it up in weeks.

 

Do writers read like everyone else?

I love gulping down commercial novels and savoring literary fiction, but when I’m pressed for time and also trying to write and proofread, what I read is only for research.  I start with what I love and wish to emulate, and then I read and reread key sections with the intent of learning something about the craft of writing.

 

So how does that translate into casual dinner party banter?  Well, it doesn’t.

 

What is the solution?

My solution goes back to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  It is important to always know your audience.  Read as you must and always have a good answer in your queue to share with the world.  There’s no need to stun people with the insanity of your writing process when you can just give a benign answer that gives them a smile before they move on with their day.

 

Are you an unconventional reader?

Do you ever stretch the truth or lie when asked what you’re reading?

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