Typically when I read, I have a pen in hand and am marking up the novel with notations, circling quotes and underlining phrases that move me in some way–all which I later transfer to a writing journal where I draw on for inspiration or examples of writing styles. There are some books where the pen never makes a mark in the novel, and there are others, like The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho, where the entire book is littered with black and blue ink.
It is not big words, intricate plots, or elaborate description that inspire me, rather it is the underlying message. The style of writing in, The Alchemist, is simplistic, the setting well described but not over-descriptive but the message–the message, is powerful. The underlying message to not be paralyzed by fear in the path of your dreams pervades throughout the novel. I connect to this message like a mussel to a rock. My fingers can not turn the pages quick enough as I devour the text in gulps, not stopping for air until I consume the last word–my body is full, my soul is satisfied and my mind digests the words I just read.
Books that captivate my attention are those that I can relate to. I know I’ve come across an excellent novel when I read a paragraph or a quote that mirrors the thoughts that have been stored in my head but never transcribed onto paper–it feels as though the writer is in my mind, pulling out this information and presenting my own words to me! A little eerie, yes…but also comforting in knowing that others share the same beliefs and ideas.
Of Coelho’s books, I’ve read The Alchemist and Veronika Decides to Die, and I plan to pick up the rest of his books in the next few weeks. I’ve also downloaded The Way of the Bow, Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren and The Warrior of Light, which Paolo offers as free! .pdf downloads off of his blog: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/internet-books/
If there are books or authors who inspire you, please leave a comment with suggestions as I would love to extend my ongoing reading list!