Writers on reading: Stephen King
I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as long swallows. Waiting rooms were made for books — of course! But so are theatre lobbies before the show, long and boring checkout lines, and everyone’s favorite, the john. You can even read while you’re driving, thanks to the audiobook revolution. Of the books I read each year, anywhere from six to a dozen are on tape. As for all that wonderful radio you will be missing, come on — how many times can you listen to Deep Purple sing “Highway Star”?
Source: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Published 2000
As someone who gets into a mini panic if I don’t have something at hand to read while waiting for trains or planes or appointments. My handbag always contains something even if its only a few sheets I’ve torn out from a magazine. It’s certainly one way to keep me distracted from the ultra slow progress of the queue snaking through the post office or at passport control.
I’ve not however mastered the art of reading while in the gym. I tried propping up a paperback on the treadmill screen but the pages wouldn’t stay in place long enough for me to read the text. I then tried my small Kindle but it kept listing to one side. You’d have thought some enterprising person would have come up with a gizmo solving that problem – there seem to be a myriad of gizmos and attachments giving ever more flexibility and functionality in how we use our electronic toys. Until then I’ll just have to resort to the talking books on my iPod.
16 thoughts on “Writers on reading: Stephen King”
As mother of two kids, I am always waiting at places – at the school, the dentist’s, doctor, art classes, dance classes, and so on. I don’t know what I would have done without a book at hand. I always keep something in my bag before I leave house. I’ve been known to forget extra diapers >.< , but never a book.
You must get through a lot of reading with all that waiting time Nish
I used to be able to read anywhere and everywhere (including the walk home from the library as a child) but as I’ve got older I’m less likely to read unless I know I have a decent time to do so although that doesn’t stop me carrying a book/kindle about with me just in case!
I’m way too clumsy to do anything other than keep my eyes on the pavement when I walk
My nan had a cleaning job at one point and apparently she could dust and read her book at the same time! And just the other day I saw a man walking through town reading a Stephen King as he went. Stephen King would surely have been extra chuffed to know this! I tend to be easily distracted and so need peace and quiet when reading, but I wish I had the ability to read on the go. I’d get through more pages!
What a woman! Id be so afraid of falling over if i tried to walk and read
I spent my teen years trying to work out how I could read in the shower without getting the pages wet as it was the only time I had to leave my book aside!
I’m participating in King’s March this month (details in sidebar on my blog). I’m sure they would be delighted if you added your On Writing piece to it 🙂
good idea. I shall hop over there right away
What a delicious image you just created for us Brona. I suppose it would just be possible if you let one arm out of the cubicle and tried reading through the glass. Might be a bit steamed up though
You just need the right exercise equipment! The elliptical at my gym holds paperbacks just fine, provided they’re not too thick–there’s even a ridge at the bottom that keeps them open. I imagine a kindle would work fine as well.
I’ve had people tell me “If you can read while you’re working out, you’re not working out hard enough,” to which I respond, “If I couldn’t read at the gym, I wouldn’t come here at all.”
I’ve seen people with magazines open but not books so yes it may be something to do with the design
This post reminds me of something Oscar Wilde said, not quoted exactly, “I always bring my journal with me. You never know when you need something good to read.” Like you, and Stephen, I must have something to read at all times! My father has a picture of me in a gondola in Venice, at age 8, reading the guide book. Wouldn’t you think a child would want to look at the view?!
That comes from his play The Importance of Being Earnest. One of the characters says: I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on a train.
I bet your parents were frustrated with you on that trip. They took you to see all that beauty and look what you did. Mind you I often feel the same when I see very young kids being traipsed around cathedrals etc.
I completely agree, waiting rooms were made for reading. And love the metaphor of reading as taking small sips.
I haven’t read King’s On Writing in so long. Thank you for reminding me of this interesting book. And allowing me to take a sip of it again!
i liked that image too Letizia. My fear is that I get so engrossed in the book that I miss my turn