Reading Drought

…And leave a book on the table.

Everyone’s heard of writer’s block – that’s when, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to come up with anything to write about.  Well, I am experiencing a reading drought. It’s been months since I’ve read a really good book – one that captures my attention to the extent that I can’t wait to get back to it.

Maybe I’m asking too much to expect to be entranced by a book. But I’m a writer who needs to read books to improve my own writing.  I’m also a reader who enjoys a good story.  I have logged many hours reading on the beach, in bed, at the doctor’s office, on a train, sitting on the deck on a summer afternoon or evening, relaxing in front of the fire on a snowy winter’s night.  I’m lost without a book close at hand.  So what happened?

It’s been an eventful year with the publication of my new book River of the Stick Wavers.  In fact I have spent most of this past year, getting it ready for sale, and it’s not over yet.  This has meant that the entire year has been a steep learning curve where I have had to do a lot of reading in order to learn what is necessary in order to publish said book.  And now with the marketing I have to do more research to find out which avenue will work best for me.  I am also in the process of planning and implementing a workshop, which means further research to prepare.  On top of that I joined Toastmasters so I could learn to become a better speaker. Every week that we meet I’ve had to learn about the different roles within the Toastmaster organization and how to implement them, as well as learn how to write and give speeches.  After nine months, I finally feel like I know something of what I’m about. There has been little time for the lighter side of reading.

It’s not like I haven’t tried.  I have.  But nothing holds my interest.  A book that appears interesting when I read the back cover, loses me in the reading. That may be because my mind has been so full of other things this year, I can’t seem to settle into a good piece of fiction.  When I don’t know what to read I tend to turn to something really light like a romance novel where I don’t need to be fully engaged.  No offense to all the romance writer’s out there, I have enjoyed your work.  In fact my first book was a romance.  But now I want to write historical fiction, so it makes sense to read books in the same genre to see how other people approach it.  Cozying up with a good piece of fiction exposes me to different approaches to storytelling.  This, in turn, becomes embedded into my thinking, only to turn up at a later date in my writing with my own personal signature attached to it.  So you see, reading is a fundamental part of who I am, as a writer, and as a reader.

So, here it is December, and I’m still searching for that illusive book that will break the cycle of drought that I’ve been living this past year.  I am currently trying a book by Anne Perry called A Christmas Hope. I read one of her books two years ago called The Christmas Guest and really enjoyed it.  In fact I wrote about it on this blog, and from the number of hits this post received, I’d guess that perhaps many of you were inspired to read it as well.  I don’t usually read mysteries, but this book is set in Victorian England, and is heavy on character development, which I enjoy.

Books I’ve read in the past and enjoyed include period novels like Outlander by Diana Gabaldon; something a bit on the quirky side like Hotel Dulac by Anita Brook, or Turtle Diary by Russel Hoban; stories about strong women; forgotten novels – those little gems that you uncover in a second hand store that have been around forever; and biographies of interesting people like Ernest Hemingway or Katharine Hepburn.  So, if you have any good novel suggestions to help me get out of this reading drought, I’d really appreciate hearing from you.  Maybe we can even sit down over tea and talk about them some time.

Categories: Memoir

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