Aside: my husband is a terrible reader for me in many ways. He never gets all the way through anything. He fidgets when asked to read a second version of something he's read before. He wants to stop in the middle and argue with me about random things. But he is a scarily intelligent person, all the way deep-down apply it to everything around him smart. He usually figures out immediately what is going wrong for me, and performs psychological ju-jitsu to sneak me into thinking about it clearly instead of depressively. Talking to him is incredibly helpful, if we can manage to avoid getting side-tracked into an argument about exactly how important coffeehouses were to the development of the East India Company.
Don't tell him I said this. It would go to his head.
I got into the bath with a cold drink, a lot of bubbles, and a copy of John Gardner's The art of fiction. I soaked, drank, and read about sixty pages. I haven't looked at it in twenty years, though I do recall some of its lessons clearly. The importance of not interrupting the fictional dream, for one. Re-reading it was a series of spang! moments. He's lucid and focused on what is truly important about fiction. He rambles, but the effect is of a long conversation with a man passionate about fiction.
He calls plotting the hardest job a writer ever does. I found that comforting.
Is this the only book you should bother reading about writing fiction or what?
At six must stop being meta and try to get some writing done, however. Must not waste precious weekend time.