Reading does not inspire me to write. I am inspired often by radio or film. I cannot think of any reading that inspires me. However, I have a library of information stored away that I use for background. I also have and do do background reading to support my writing. Although nobody would believe it that I try to root my writing, in reality. That is what I do. It may be because I come from a non-fiction background. It also may be because so much writing is imitation - that is a no no in my world. There is so much material out in the public forum that there is no need for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or and look alikes.
I have read many of Charles Dickens books. I also read Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. I read books that I can relate to. I have read several self help books like Norman Vincent Peale as well Courage to Change. I am currently reading Thinking for a Change. My life has been one of struggles and I have come to realize there are only certain things I have control over. I am learning how to have self-empowerment. This is scary because I am mid-aged. I cut out inspirational poems and sayings and use them as lamp lights for my course. I listen to music, which inspires me and helps me release my inner thoughts when strictly doing creative personal works. Journalism is pretty much set in stone, but I need to reinvent myself to continue in the field by developing a journalist web paper.
Anything that is of high quality. Bad writing just makes me cross.
Poetry and science fiction
Writing that comes from the soul.
I highly enjoy writing that sees the universal in the particular. IMHO, too much modern writing, especially poetry, concerns itself only with the writer's ego and/or sensibilities, and is, for that reason, merely self-indulgent. The good writer, IMHO, seeks to show how his sensibility connects to the human condition and to mankind in general.
My favorite author is Daphne Du Maurier. In her incredibly detailed writing, especially in "Rebecca," "My Cousin Rachel," and "Frenchmen's Creek," you feel as if you are truly in the minds and hearts of the characters. I incorporate this technique in my writing so that the reader feels as if he or she has experienced a meaningful time with the characters, not simply a time of entertainment.
Writing that moves in a big way, that is breathtaking and funny, yet heartbreaking. I have been inspired by Melville, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Richard Powers, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Laura Pritchett, Elisabeth Sheffield, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jeffrey DeShell, and so many other fiction writers and poets. I also appreciate the way Sedaris, LaMott and (Kevin) Kling capture life in comical yet poignant vignettes.
Reading which moves me.
It doesn't seem to matter what I read I can compose something from the experience.
|Stephen King. Many good writers. SF and fantasy and horror, though I have been drifting more toward fantasy and SF lately than horror. Horror was comforting when my life was so hard it was a walking horror. My childhood would be a horror novel if I wrote it up in detail. I was comforted by knowing Franz Kafka understood how lonely and crushed a human being could get, that I wasn't the only one who got treated like dirt. Nothing in later life has ever been as hard as my childhood, even the homeless shelter only came close and recapitulated being locked up as a teenager -- which was not as bad as living with family.
I read classics like Melville and Sam Clemens too. I read Dickens. I read a lot.
I love and adore Terry Pratchett. Like the King (Stephen, not Elvis), Pratchett is someone I read for style and technique. I read these good ones over and over and on the twentieth reread I start to see some of how he did it -- start understanding technique. Diskworld has a brilliant backstory, as tightly woven as anything in "serious" SF or fantasy. He plays consistent with his rules. It is a chronicle. The first golem gets freed -- a few books later there's a Golem Trust buying and freeing golems and the impact of golems as an ethnic group is hitting Ankh-Morpork. He does plenty of social satire of course, and his world has the depth and richness of a real world even if it's silly and sits on top of four elephants and a giant turtle.
Most authors will give you a good line every chapter, the best every few pages. Pratchett gives you a good quotable on average about six per page. Read one aloud to your friends and you will have party material for a month without repeating yourself. I can't count the number of Pratchett-quoters who have become life of the party at any party. My favorite was the young assassin who crept along the rooftops with a nearly catlike grace, except that he didn't stop to urinate on the chimney-pots.
I think it was Pratchett who taught me to look a cliche right in the eye, grab it by its horns and hit it with my head a dozen times real fast till it gets confused and becomes something else, something original and classic. If I take any cliche and go "But what would it be like if it was REAL?" then it becomes something awesome, it stops being cliche at all and most of the time people don't even recognize its roots. These things become cliches because someone wrote it well and then a thousand others imitated that story thinking the plot or the maguffin was the big seller.
It's how it's told. A good writer could turn my going to the bathroom into a good story.
All types from cookbooks, newspaper cuttings and autobiographies to fiction by Haruki Murakami and Margaret Atwood.
I always joke that I hate to read, but I do read Time Magazine avidly. It is my only source for news besides John Stuart. I can't bear to watch TV news, can't trust the propaganda machine. I like to read about contemporary issues. I think it's important to stay on the cutting edge of contemporary philosophies, and I can't do that loosing myself in fiction, so any time I do have to do some extra reading I spend it in quiet contemplation over the fragile state of the world.
Mostly poetry I read from my friends and peers around me. Also just a really deep pyschological mind-boggling thriller or romance novel I've just read. For example, the book Host by Stephenie Meyer is a very inspiring piece.