With summer coming, newspapers and bloggers are starting to offer their favorite summer reads.
Summer is a great time to read for pleasure.
On a hot afternoon, there is nothing more delicious than flopping on the couch with a novel and a tall glass of iced tea and getting lost in a good story.
If you’re traveling, you might choose a mystery or a thriller, something to absorb you on a long flight or layover.
Reading for pleasure, you pay attention to nothing but the movie playing in your mind.
Unless you’re a writer.
Then it’s hard to stop thinking about what you might learn from the books you are reading, even the light-hearted fare and froth.
You sense the elegance in a well-made story or poem, and you want to know how the author did it.
Reading for craft can feel a little academic at first.
But reading as a writer can also be a deep practice, something you put your whole self into.
Reading deeply, opens your mind and your eyes.
You read awake and it wakes you up.
I don’t want to imply should read like a writer all the time. I would never take away the pleasure of getting lost in a good beach read.
But sometime during your week, the more regularly the better, it is good to read with intention, with pencils and sticky notes at your side, noticing a writer’s skill as you would a good blend of flavors by a great chef or the formal elements of a painting.
Next week, I’ll share the way I set up my own reading practice, and in the following weeks and months, guide you through some favorite books and essays.