I am picky, though, in what I read. Just like anyone, I guess, I want a story that will grab me, characters to fall in love with or loathe entirely. When I look for a book I want it to fit into a certain mold, to provide me what I am looking for at that moment. Sometimes it is Urban Fantasy, or Steampunk, or Epic Fantasy. There are some stories I don't want to read because I don't want to be stuck reading a dozen books, others I don't want to read because I feel they are outdated and I've read a lot of stuff published since that time that, may or may not, be drawing on it.
There is also this little problem I have of being a slow reader. 750 page tomes are not daunting for me: I just know I'll be involved with it for a little while. Generally about 2-3 weeks. And I'm ok with that. But I want that story to be damn good and to fit me for what I'm looking for at the moment if I'm to make that sort of commitment to reading it.
Furthermore, my reading time is also my writing time. And my TV and forum and blog and friends and family time. I don't do it for work. I'm not independently wealthy that I'm just sitting on my butt all day and writing is what I do to entertain myself. I do do it to entertain myself (I can do so much better than so many so-called authors out there, yes I can!) but I have a separate life as well. So, often, reading gets forgotten about.
I've fixed that last part this weekend by picking up 4 new books. With the exception of one of them being a sequel to a book I read a year ago, the others are all the first in their series and are all by authors I have not read before.
First up is Thief's Covenant, by Ari Marmell. I've been looking at this book for a while now, flipping through it randomly whenever I see it at the library or bookstore. I thought it was a bit too young for me but, after accidentally picking up the second book and reading its first few pages before realizing my mistake, I went and found the actual first book in another part of the bookstore. I'm now 50 pages in and, while it is a YA (young adult) book, I am pleased to say it is old enough to have captured my interests.
The other three books are Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding, The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud, and Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. A Steampunk; a more classical, boy magician getting in over his head and growing in both age and power; and an Urban Fantasy. Along with Theif's Covenant, it's a good sample of my likes and dislikes. Moon Over Soho, btw, is the sequel to the fun Rivers of London/Midnight Riot (UK/US titles) I read a year ago. That one I know I will like so I will probably read it last.
My encouragement to you this weekend, fellow writer, is this: go read other books, other stories, things that you yourself have not written. If you get stuck on your story, then get out of your head for a bit, see how someone else handled the same or similar problem as you are facing. And, as a bonus, find some cool ideas you can twist and forge into your own and incorporate into your current or future stories. Because that's what I'm going to do.