I've read many times on the blogosphere about writers who read like they're studying a text book. Interpreting for structure and character - even dissecting it word by word, searching for adverbs and such. There's nothing wrong with doing this. In fact, it's probably the smart thing to do if you want to learn craft by studying those who've made it where you want to be.
Yeah, you knew that was coming, right? The big fat but. But that's not the way the books were meant to be read. See the thing is, I'm an avid reader. Always have been. There's little I enjoy more than curling up with a good book and devouring it from cover to cover, often in a day or two. I love that feeling of being so wrapped up in a wonderful story that I only want to see what happens. As a writer, don't you wish for readers that feel like that?
I'm stubborn. I just feel like stopping to pick the novel apart would kill the magic. Not that I don't notice certain things while I'm reading. The more I learn, the more I recognize in some part of my brain. But I don't want to lose that guilty pleasure just because I've decided to pursue my writing.
Some of you will argue that we can read the book more than once. Sure! I agree. But to be honest there are precious few that I actually do this with. One's that I feel have something REALLY special. Books like The Hunger Games for example. Or Harry Potter (all of them). But that one on my nightstand? The honest truth is as much as I enjoy it, probably not.
What do you think? Are there certain books you study as a writer and others that you just soak up as a reader? Do you read things more than once in different ways? Or do you prefer to study all your books from the moment you open the cover? I'd love to hear your view!