Writing or reading, this is the problem

I want to start again this section abandoned for too long (I’m inconstant, I admit), perhaps because lately I’ve decided (finally) to write a new novel.
Putting aside for a while the stories of “Il Sentiero delle Anime Perdute“, I’ve been focusing on a book a bit special that will talk about a long journey through several parts of the world: L.S.V.C.N.C.M. (try to guess the title in Italian!).

The first thing, therefore, is to start the research on the cities where will be the characters, define the whole plot and start writing down the drafts of random chapters… a work definitely long and involving a lot of concentration.
So I found myself in front of one of the typical writer things, or better, a writer problem: the terrible dilemma “reading or writing?

It is not to be underestimated, considering that even a writer such as William Gibson (author of Neuromancer, if you didn’t read it… read it!) admits the frustration of this situation!

william gibson twitter

Since I moved to Canada, I have not read many books, cause I brought with me only one book from Italy.
While I stay a nostalgic of the paper book (and of all that it entails), I eventually yielded to read ebooks in English because I was missing too much reading novels (and furthermore it’s a great exercise for language).

Now, the problem is, as Gibson says, I can not read fiction while I am writing a story that I have to (literally) live in my mind and then recreate on page.
Like saying, I can not do two things at the same time so similar without having my brain short-circuited (and no ideas for the new novel, of course).

So, torn between the desire to read new authors and to write my new story, I eventually had to give up the reading of two novels I had started (Looking for Alaska and The perks of being a wallflower) to an uncertain date.

I do not know how long it will take to complete the writing of this new book (L.S.V.C.N.C.M.): the story is too long, tangled, lived and full of feelings …
As stop completely reading (for a time that can seem like an eternity) is out of the question, I’m taking advantage of the wonderful public library of Vancouver by borrowing books not of fiction, but that can feed my mind without distracting me too much from my novel: they are books about who has dedicated his life to write stories, or books on how to find and how to tell the right story.

For now, every time I go to the library (central branch), I stop at the level 3 (where you can find books on journalism, writing, English grammar, poetry and literature).
I gladly would spend entire days walking among all those books, and maybe, someday, I’ll bring my laptop with me and I’ll sit down to write my book, surrounded by all those words that once belonged only to the mind of someone, printed on that paper turned yellow by the memory of all the eyes passed on it, year after year after year.

Here are the first two books borrowed: a brief history of literature, and a collection of the best mini-stories that appeared in The New Yorker in the section The Talk of the Town.


Has anyone else this problem? Or can you easily read fiction while you’re writing a novel?
Write me in the comments, I’m curious! 🙂