It occurred to me last night that I have very particular rules about what I read when I'm writing a novel. I can't read anyone who will influence me, so no Laurell K. Hamilton or Jacqueline Carey. I can't read any books that are too close in nature to mine, because I don't want those story ideas creeping into mine, so no Charlaine Harris, Karen Chance, Kim Harrison--okay, basically, no fantasy. Not even any paranormal romance. That leaves me with two options:
1. Non-fiction. I shamelessly admit that I read Oprah's magazine. The short articles are often just what I need as a break in between work and writing. They're also good for over breakfast. A book might cause me to linger too long and waste writing/working time; the articles cut themselves into nice time chunks. There are also non-fiction books. As I said in the Falling Behind post in October, non-fiction books are in the number 2 most-read genre for me this year. I've found that the raw truth is often very inspiring of the fantastical.
2. Romance. There's nothing quite like a well-crafted romance into which to make the perfect escape. My story may have romantic elements in it, but it's not the pivotal plot point. There's no danger of unconsciously drafting part of a romance into my novel.
Last Nano, I read three romances and one non-fiction during the month. I ended the month by reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Mistral's Kiss. That was brave of me. This year, I'm sticking to the romances and non-fiction. Which means that the Neil Gaiman book that I purchased almost a month ago is going to have to sit on my shelf a little bit longer.