There is actually a book with the same title. This really isn't about that book. It's about me, and how I read.
When I read, I look at a story not only as a reader, but as a writer. It's not something I necessarily choose. It's something I just do.
Sometimes, it's great. When I read something that blows my mind, I sit considering all the work that went into it. I think about the craft. I am excited about the little things: that word was perfect in that situation, or the foreshadowing was well executed. The very best moments I have are when something confused me as a writer at the beginning of something come together in ways I didn't expect with such perfect execution it makes me cry (true story). I think the author would appreciate the time I take to look at the specific work he or she has put into the story.
But the downside to reading like a writer is I don't let things slide easily. I see things that are wrong, that can be fixed, only there isn't anything I can do about it. I sit back and think: Man, this story has such potential, but there are some things that just aren't working. Generally, I go look at reviews and see others with similar thoughts. Sometimes readers can't place why they don't like a story. I know what specifically I don't like or what's not working for me, and I think I rely a lot on my writing background to know that.
What's hardest for me is I want to fix those things. I want to make the writing better. I want to say to the writer, "This is great, now if you just push this a little more, or cut back on this, it will be fantastic." That's probably a large reason why I want to go into publishing. It may just be caused by my years in workshops or my time spent as a copy editor, by I have a drive to make things better. And I love helping people succeed.
Do you guys have any thoughts on this? What drives you to do what you do? Do you read critically, or do you try to experience everything the author writes without thinking about things like word choice? I'd love to know!
(P.S. - I'm not trying to be conceited in this post. I know there are different people with different tastes. Many of the books I think may have flaws, loads of others loved and vice versa.)