That's right, reading can be fun
While I really enjoyed my time as a judge and unearthed some Aussie gems in the process, the notion of having to read a designated pile of stories really does eat into your enjoyment level after a while.
So the past few weeks has allowed me to finally dig into the growing pile of books I've been amassing over the past 24 months and enjoy a few chapters when I crawl into bed each night.
In particular, I finally got around to reading Joe Hill's excellent short story collection 20th Century Ghosts and are now engrossed by John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In. He has a definate Stephen King vibe about his work and is well worth checking out.
The good thing about reading really talented authors is that it also inspires you to work on the little things as a writer yourself. The stuff I'm reading is way out of my league at the moment, but by indentifying what I really like about each author's style I can begin to work on improving the particular facits in my own work.
Jack Dann once told me in a work shop to go through the book's of the authors I most admired with a highlighter and mark all the things that made me love their work, then replicate it in my own writing. It's sound advice and a good basis for developing your own voice. I prefer to make mentals note though, or to jot things down on a pad - it doesn't damage those precious first editions.