Some are startled: "Read? I'm a writer, not a reader."
Some are apologetic: "I read only mysteries" or (pick your least favorite genre). Like I expect them to tell me they have just finished Paradise Lost or a Greek tragedy.
Some can babble on at length about the last 20 works they read, sometimes even tell you what this has to do with what they are writing now.
Here is one of the few absolutes I know. You can't be a writer without being a reader.
I have a tendency to separate my reading from my writing. I always have at least one book going but if I am writing up a storm, my reading slows down, even stops. If I am reading voraciously my writing screeches to a halt.
I've been plugging away at two related short stories. The first is finished and off to the critique group, the second is stuck on a plot point. It should be easy to solve, but it isn't. Very frustrating. So for the moment I will take a vacation and read.
Right now on my reading list I have ten novel beginnings, the first thousand words or so. I have to read and judge then for a contest. I have one entry now and my mail box will have filled up with the others before I publish this blog. I really love this kind of reading. Of the ten pieces, one will make me want to read the rest of the novel. One will make me wish I had never read even this much of the novel. The rest will fall somewhere between. We are given a score sheet, but we don't actually have to comment on what we read. I always send a comment and I truly hope my comments are helpful. I don't want to discourage anyone from writing no matter how bad the early attempts are.
Then there is the play I promised to read two weeks ago. I'm not sure I can be much help with that one.
A friend, Kaye George, has asked me to write a blurb for her new book, Requiem in Red. I love reading unpublished works, especially by writers I know and like. I am waiting now for Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell to be published so I can send off my review.
I do have to admit that the book I am reading now is an anthology and the first story in it is by ME. It is a lovely, slim volume with 17 stories under 2000 words in length. Like a plate full of petit fours, I am sampling by author and title, not in the order chosen by the editor.
Look it up: Let It Snow, the best of Bethlehem writers Roundtable. Available from Amazon for $8.99.