I have a rule. When I pass the 50% mark of a manuscript that I'm working on, I am no longer allowed to read any new books until I finish. I can re-read old favourites - that's fine - magazines - yep - non-fiction reference books - okay. But no new novels.
I'm not entirely sure when or how this rule came into being. I think it goes as far back as The Swan Kingdom, because I'm pretty sure I remember a friend sending me a stack of books as a celebratory present when I announced that it was finished. But whenever or however the rule came into being, it works. I happen to be one of those people that finish most books they read in one sitting, which means I read non-stop for about six hours at a time. You can't write from 9am to 5pm every day, cook, clean, take the dog for three walks, bathe, wash and blow-dry your hair, do internet grocery shopping and banking, reply to your emails AND read for six hours. So what always drops out of the equation is writing. When I'm reading new books, usually, I'm not writing.
BAD WRITER! NO COOKIE!
What this normally means is that while I'm writing that last 50% of my work-in-progress, I build up this stack of exciting books I'm *desperate* to read, but can't. I usually stack them up in my writing cave; there are days when looking at them is the only motivation I can scrape together to get some words down. Today, I thought I would share with you my 'I Get To Read These When I'm Finished' Bookshelf.
First of all: SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater.
I'm such a fan of Maggie's that even though I've never read any of her books yet, I can still spell her name right without even checking. Yeah I know. Anyway, I follow this lady's blog and listen to her awesome music for inspiration and despite some uncomplimentary reviews from friends of mine, I'm really interested to read this book.
You'll note, by the way, that this is the beautiful, shiny, blue and silver American hardback cover I've posted. That's because the UK paperback cover is so vile that I couldn't bring myself to read it. Seriously, what is up with the drooling letters, dude? Eugh. Anyway, I decided to order a copy of the US hardback and wait a few weeks for it to arrive, since I wasn't going to read the book straight away, and it's even more lovely in the flesh. In the paper? Whatever.
Next, SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce.
Whoa nelly, that is an awesome cover.
I love fairytale retellings - that's why I write them - but most people go for the Anderson ones because they're longer and more complex and leave more room for reinterpretation. There's not all that much meat in the Brothers Grimm Little Red Riding Hood, and I'm told that this story does have a few glaring plot holes.
However, it's about two girls who carve up werewolves with knives and a hachet so...yeah. I'm totally reading this.
Next on the list is CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare.
Yes, yes, I know everyone but me has already read this. And it's kind of shameful that I haven't, since me and Cassie Clare have the same publisher. I've been meaning to get to it for ages, and the other day I was browsing on Amazon and thought, Ooh, I should get that while I'm online! So I did.
I really hope it's as good as everyone says, because if so I have two more books in the trilogy to look forward to, and the companion book. Woohoo!
PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL by Jessica George Day.
Another one I've been meaning to get to for a while, but I hesitated because Robin McKinley, the Ruling Empress of Fairytale Retellings has already done a version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which I LOVE. I'm not sure anyone else can live up to that version, but the reviews on this one are good, so I'm willing to give it a go.
MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolomore.
I'm intrigued by this one for several reasons. The idea of a fairy trapped in an automoton is so original - and I've also been told that this author writes a little like Diana Wynne Jones which is about the highest tribute anyone could ever bestow, as far as I'm concerned. Really looking forward to it, but hoping the ending is not as much of a cliff-hanger as some reviews imply (boy, I hate cliff-hangers. Ngghg).
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan.
I would have bought and read this one ages ago, despite the Twilight-Alike cover, just because that title is fantastic (so jealous! Why can't *I* think of titles like that? Waah!). However, the only copy in my local bookshop was all ripped up and torn, and I wasn't willing to shell out full price for a hardback with a ruined cover. When I returned to the shop the next time, there were no copies. It seemed like an omen, so I decided to make an offering to the writing gods and buy a notebook with the money instead. No, not really: I just forgot.
So these are the books I can't wait to read at the moment. What's on your To Be Read pile right now, and why?