One of the ongoing problems I have as a writer is deciding what to read next. This is, of course, what one might call a “good problem.” It’s not like I’m trying to figure out how to cure cancer or something. In my house, there are growing stacks of books, in various places—bedside table, recliner, coffee table, and so forth—that I have not yet read, and with each new book that I buy, chances grow that those unread books will remain, sadly, unread.
As a young (“emerging”?) writer, I feel a regular anxiety of not being as well-read as I would like to be. This is a bit irrational. Even my friends who are pursuing a PhD in literature who read hundreds of books in order to prepare for the comprehensive exam have plenty of holes in their personal canon. That’s just normal. There is too much great stuff to read, especially if one spends a portion of his/her time writing rather than reading. Sometimes the reading just stops because of the anxiety of influence. (more…)