The trick about reading good books while working on my own craft of writing is coming to terms with the fact that I have such a long way to go. And sometimes I stumble across such good writing that I have to wonder what in the world I’m doing trying to write.
Right now I’m reading Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already infatuated. Her characters are described with remarkable insight and twists of phrase that astound me. My favorite so far:
“She felt, in spite of everything, that she was open to criticism, and, transposing this feeling with a practiced old hand, kept peering into our characters for symptoms of ingratitude.”