Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What Does One Writer Read?

Someone asked, what kind of books do I read.

Well, it's a mixed bag.

In fiction, I lean heavily toward mysteries. But in the past year and a half I've read a number of Westerns, some historical fiction, Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman," Howard Frank Mosher's "God's Kingdom" and even Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane."

Who do I favor in mysteries? James Lee Burke, Ann Rendell/Barbara Vine, Harlan Coben, Ian Rankin, Wayne Dundee, Douglas Quinn, Elmore Leonard, Mark Billingham, Denzel Meyrick and many new ones I'm constantly discovering.

In non-fiction, I'm all over the place: history (particularly 19th century), archaeology, anthropology, travel, biographies, psychology, philosophy--whatever catches my fancy or may be vital to my research.

I don't, in general, read fantasy, paranormal (especially zombies), sappy romances or much sci-fi, but those are personal choices and not a condemnation of those genres.

I'm currently reading Juliet Barker's "The Brontes," an in-depth study of that remarkably talented family and JM Gregson's (another of those authors newly discovered) "A Little Learning."

Much of what I read, I also review. No one but a writer understands how important reviews are to a writer, be he/she known or unknown. So, if you read, please review. It doesn't take much to say you enjoyed (or didn't) reading a particular book. And reviews, no matter how brief, help a book rise in the ratings on Amazon and elsewhere. Besides, who doesn't like to give their opinion on something?

Stephen King says you can't be a writer without being a reader. And that admirable Brit Samuel Johnson once said, "The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write, a man will turn over half a library to make one book."