Inspiration

Well. This week’s Booking Through Thursday is one of those seemingly simple – but complex – questions:

What inspires your reading?

First and foremost, I’m inspired by what books are. Books themselves are such things of beauty. The ability of writers to fashion words into sentences and sentences into whole breathing novels – that inspires me the most of all, I think.

Then aesthetics, i.e. covers. When I’m at the bookstore, I’ll look out specifically for books I’ve been meaning to read, but covers are oh-so-important. If there’s a book I want to buy but I dislike the cover, I won’t purchase it. Even my shelves are arranged in colour order (that makes me sound so neurotic). Sometimes I think I see book titles in colours. So I go by “feel”.

Spontaneity isn’t really my thing though. I love to compile list and organise them into ‘projects’ – short-term and long-term – and these inspire me. I really do get inspired by being organised.

Apart from that, at eighteen years of age, I haven’t seen much of life, and I like the thought of  perceiving the human condition through another’s eyes. This is turning into a “why I read” more than what inspires me, but I also love the thought that there are thousands of books and writers out there, undiscovered (by me) and I’m not limited by anything but myself. I’m opening up my mind, one book at a time, and that in itself inspires me. So I suppose the thirst for knowledge is another inspiration.

I’m not sure if I interpreted this question correctly, but I enjoyed its thought-provoking-ness.

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30 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. I love how you interpreted the question and the painting at the top of the post.

    I would love to arrange my books by color; perhaps when we get more shelves and things aren’t double stacked, I might attempt it. I often find books on the shelves by color now; causes problems when the spine’s a different color from the cover in my memory, though.

    1. SFP – I loved your interpretation too! Can’t believe I forgot to mention other book blogs as an inspiration. I think I’m able to arrange them by colour b/c my ‘library’ is really small right now. It’s slowly starting to resemble a rainbow, though :)

  2. I cannot possibly care less about covers. Don’t get me wrong, if I love a book, I’d love to own it and then I look for a nice printed copy. But for books I don’t own and I’d like to read, I look for a copy of it, from the library or very rarely from a bookstore, and then I get it. I’d *prefer* to read a copy of the book with a pretty cover. In the end, though, I don’t care what the packaging is and I don’t mind digital books. I’m into reading for the words.

    I organize my bookshelves by genre and then author’s last name. Except recently my son has begun a game where he pulls them ALL off the shelves. With my prompting, he puts them on again. Needless to say, none of them are in order any more!!

    1. Rebecca – Your son sounds adorable, hahah! How about you begin a game where he arranges the books into alphabetical order?
      And I agree with you about the cover thing; books are ultimately about words. And I also couldn’t care less about covers when I’m borrowing library books. I think with the books on my shelves, though, I see them as actual objects, so they have to look nice :))

    1. Beth F – sometimes I wish I could be more spontaneous and mood-driven, but then I think my reading patterns would be crazy b/c I’m a pretty temperamental person.

  3. When it comes to just randomly picking a book, then I do totally use the cover as a determining factor as whether I’ll flip it over and read the back. Generally, I’ll be intrigued by the title, if the cover is not unappealing, then I’ll read the back cover, and if that sounds good, I’ll start from page one (or randomly open to a page) and see how the writing goes. But, if I have a particular book in mind, then obviously the cover doesn’t matter as much, since with contemporary novels, you generally only have the choice between the hardcover version and the paperback version anyway. Again, like you, I’d prefer a paperback over a hardcover!

    But one other important thing when it comes to books and me is what the typesetting of the book is like on the inside. I hate books where the fonts are too small or the leading on the lines is too thick and the print looks blurry or smudged. Those automatically cause my hackles to rise, and I seriously have to reconsider how much I want to read the book! It’s weird, I know, but it’s definitely one of my quirks!

    1. Steph – Your method sounds pretty much like what I do. I’m going to sound so defensive here, but I’m actually not all that picky when it comes to covers, although they are a determining factor. But every so often, I’ll absolutely detest it, and then I won’t buy it. I still haven’t bought my own copy of ‘A Suitable Boy’ b/c the cover is so ugly. I refuse to pay $35 for a book I don’t like to look at!

      Typesetting is important to me too, only I’m stupid enough to not bother myself about it until I’ve brought the book home. Then I’ll moan and groan about it, and then end up reading the book anyway. I really hate those books where they make the font deliberately thick and smudged to resemble vintage books, and it just makes the book harder to read.

  4. I agree about the words being the thing that most inspires. Great answer, I think the question could be interpreted a number of ways.

    1. Lisa – this week’s question was definitely open to interpretation. I think that’s what made this question hard for me to answer. I enjoyed reading your response. Seeking truth and beautiful writing; those two things inspire me too :)

  5. Very well said! I quite enjoyed your interpretaion of inspiration; especially your first paragraph.

    I wish my 18yo daughter had a system for organizing all her books, colour coded or otherwise.

  6. A good book will helps, but there is my craving and mood.

    Reading choices are always like double-edged sword. I want to be part of others’ reading context but my whim sometimes just won’t allow it.

    In short, what inspires me is my own volition and whim.

    1. Matthew – Volition and whim sounds good. I always buy books on a whim; I just step inside and then choose whatever takes my fancy. But then I get home and compile them into lists, which is not so spontaneous!

  7. Tuesday, I think my son needs to learn the alphabet first….we’ll get there! And I forgot (already!) that books at always $20 in Australia. Quite a price. So I understand the “love the cover” to buy it thing. Most of my books are old worn out used paperbacks and just a few are my “I love this book so I got a nice copy of it” ones. Some day I’ll have a “pretty” library.

  8. And I should add about inspiration – I’m often motivated to read books when I hear interviews with authors and critics. The Book Show on Radio National is a good source of inspiration, and a great way to hear of books that would normally pass me by. I’m waiting for a copy of Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia after listening to a Book Show ep, and being inspired…

    1. Oh yes, interviews. And book discussions – like the First Tuesday Book Club.
      I watched a beautiful production of Capricornia a few years back; still haven’t read the novel though.

  9. hi, you said you were taking the 1001 books you must read before you die challenge.#do you have the book or did you get the list from the internet?

    i just wanted to know. i saw that book at Barnes and noble

    1. zawan – nah, I got the list off the internet b/c the book was too expensive! I’ve been meaning to borrow it from the library, but it’s a bit heavy to carry home :)

  10. I think of books as works of art too, and I admit that the esthetics of a book are important to me – the weight, the smell, the feel of the paper – I acknowledge all of it in one way or another.

    Whenever you mention your (young!) age, I’m always amazed afresh at the amount of reading you’ve already done, and happily anticipatory for all the reading you have still to come!

    1. Becca – the smell definitely! I love how different types of paper have different scents (okay, that sounds a bit strange, but hopefully you’ll understand what I mean).

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