There really isn’t one main thing that inspires my reading and to really, fully answer this question I would almost need to go back and analyze everything I read last year to see WHY I read each thing, but here are some of the main points:
- What I am interested in: I read a ton of historical fiction. I don’t read necessarily read it because I love the genre (although I do love the genre, and there are some GREAT authors of historical fiction out there), I read it because I can enjoy a good narrative story and learn at the same time. I will often seek out historical fiction by a variety of different authors about the exact same time period, place, and even person (or related places/people/etc.) in order to ‘read around’ the subject and discover much of the truth of that event or that person’s life. I generally start with time periods/people in which I’m already interested and sort of branch out from there (moving from Tudor history to Plantagenet history, from 15th and 16th century England to other parts of Europe and the middle east, etc.). Often what I read in historical fiction prompts me to want to read more, which leads us to the next category…
- What I’ve already read: All of my historical fiction reading of England has led me to explore some non-fiction works on different aspects of British history, including a book on all the queens of England. Also, if I’ve particularly enjoyed a book by an author, I will tend to seek out their other work, even if it is on a different topic or in a different genre than the work I previously enjoyed. I also may be inspired to read more on a topic, even by another author, by an interesting book.
- Happenings in the world/my life: I wouldn’t be reading pregnancy books if I weren’t pregnant, and I wouldn’t have read “Dreams From My Father” when I did if I hadn’t been moving to Chicago and known Barack was my Senator (I probably still would have read it when he ran for President, though). Other events in the world can also prompt me to get a book on that or a related subject.
- What I see/hear: LibraryThing is a ridiculously fantastic source of recommendations, as are some of my friends who have similar tastes to my own, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, NPR, and of course book blogs. I also have a huge tendency to just pick up whatever looks interesting at a bookstore, at a library sale, or on Amazon. I have also done quite a bit of requesting books that look interesting from authors and publishers of late, leading us into the final category.
- What I receive: Nearly everything that is sent to me for review is something I either requested or agreed to take, which means it is something I at least thought I would be interested in. I feel an obligation to read these books in as timely a manner as possible and get them reviewed, although lately I’ve also felt an obligation to myself to make every second or third book something that I am reading simply because it struck my fancy and not because I ‘have to’.
What inspires your reading?