Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Are You Reading?

This is the time of year I suspect many of us really like to curl up with a good book. It's usually cold outside and the days just seem to be meant for reading. At my Austin RWA chapter meeting last night some of us were talking about whether we read what we like to write or like to read stuff we don't write. Two generally read what they also like to write and two of us read broadly—including lots of stuff we either know we couldn't or wouldn't want to write.

My personal bias is to read widely—including books we think we probably wouldn't like if it's out of our usual reading range particularly if the books are of a different genre and/or are written by people with very different backgrounds from our own.

If we're writers, we may learn new tools to use in our own work and be startled by ideas or ways of doing things that hadn't occurred to us before. If we're not writers, we may still find new ideas, new ways of looking at the world that wouldn't have occurred to us otherwise. Either way, we win. Even if we end up hating the book, we have new information about what works for us and what doesn't.

So....what are you reading? What has surprised you in good ways?

Some of the kinds of things that surprised me recently and that worked: an assassin as a hero (I would have sworn I couldn't/wouldn't like such a book!), a lawyer with strong faith in God, a book about the Dalai Lama and his philosophy toward happiness, a story about an astral traveling nanny (by an unpublished writer and whose central character stayed with me for a long time after I read the story), and quite a few other books including several on how to train a dog. My life is richer because I've read these books and stories. And that's what books and stories do—they enrich our lives.

Happy reading everyone!