What should I read?

I noticed there was a question from Nathan Bransford’s blog in the last week or so, asking writers whether they read only the genre in which they write?

It seemed some did, some didn’t.

I read a lot, not as much as I want as I seem to fall asleep by the second para of the page on any given night, but I love to read.  Once when I was a reader I read for pleasure totally.  Now I find my pleasure is overshadowed by a questioning mind: why did the author do that there, how do they accomplish that, why that word and not another.  And look, there is an adverb and wow!, an exclamation mark, lots of them!  And ooh-er, an edit blooper.

Once when I was merely a reader, along with a lot of genres, I read fantasy . . . quite a bit of it.  Now that I write fantasy, I have reduced what I read by a significant amount.  I still read new Mary Hoffmans and Juliet Marilliers and a friend gave me a Guy Gavriel Kay.  Phillip Pullman has a place on my shelves, and I look forward to the new Alison Goodman.  I have the two Matthew Skeltons on my shelves as well.  Occasionally at the library, I’ll come across a writer whose name I don’t know and whose book is legend-based.  And it goes without saying that my shelves have all the Tolkeins, C.S. Lewis’s and all the Harry Potters.  But that’s it.  I choose not to read any other fantasy because of the fear of osmosis, that unconscious filling up of the dark and fusty corners of one’s brain.

My favourite reading is largely hist. fict-based, authors I know, authors of whom I  have never heard.  In addition I love the wit and fast paced humour of Jilly Cooper and Fiona Walker.  And if I am in a frame of mind where I need an easy read, I’ll pick up a chick.lit.  I’m not a lit. fict fan particularly.  I hate crime and thrillers (haven’t the stomach) and I enjoy going back to Aunt Jane and The Aunts Bronte.  I am even discovering classics that I would never have touched in my 20’s . . . Clarissa by Samuel Richardson for example.

That’s my reading list.  What’s yours?