Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Are You Reading?

I have a confession to make. A few years ago, even though I absolutely love to read, I hardly did. I found it extremely difficult to read and write my own stories at the same time. Looking back, I'd have to say this was due in large part to the fact that I had so much to learn about the craft of writing, and every time I picked up a new novel, the rules changed. For that author alone, or so it seemed.
I'm happy to say I've pretty much mastered my internal editor now, and can switch it off and just enjoy a good book when I get the opportunity to do so. Not always. There have been a few times where I've been so disappointed with the quality of writing and the lack of editorial direction that I've thrown the book across the mean...put it away on a shelf never to be seen again.
However, those cases are few and far between. In fact now, when I need a break from writing, I read. Of course this is made so much easier with my trusty new iPad - thanks Dad! Yes, as much as I love actual hold-in-your-hand books, convenience and the luxury of simply being able to press a button and receive a new book that might otherwise take weeks to get to me, has made me a convert. E-Readers are here to stay folks, may as well get used to it. But please by a real copy of my book when it comes out! Several even.
Okay, so you probably want to know what it is that I'm reading, right?
Yeah, I thought so. You're just curious like that.
Well, lets see. I have to say I'm not terribly adventurous when it comes to picking a novel. I know what I like and I tend to gravitate toward those books. I love big family saga type novels with a hefty dose of romance thrown in. I enjoy Barbara Taylor Bradford, adore Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, and I have discovered a new author that I'm really excited about - no not me - Kate Morton.
Last summer I read The Forgotten Garden.
I'm currently reading The House At Riverton.
She has a new book out called The Distant Hours, which I will read as soon as I finish The House At Riverton.

I am drawn to these multi-faceted stories, grew up on them, and will continue to seek out this kind of literature. I'm currently working on a larger family saga-type novel, because I love the themes behind them, the larger cast of characters and the challenge of taking an extremely dysfunctional family and putting them in the same room together! More to come on this, I'm sure.

If you're paying attention, you may notice a theme amongst the authors I have mentioned. What is it?

And the Q4U: What are you reading and if you are a writer, do the books you read influence your own style of writing?


Wendy Paine Miller said...

I love it when I'm reading a great book when I'm writing. It most certainly can serve as an inspiration and a motivator.

Right now I'm reading The Thirteenth Tale. A well-woven story.
~ Wendy

Catherine West said...

"well-woven" - love that! Right now I'm in the middle of a manuscript with stray threads all over the place!! Ha. Hopefully they will all come together at the end!

T. Anne said...

I read a vast variety of genres and authors, and I try to only let the good ones influence me! =)

Heather Sunseri said...

I am all over the place with what I read. On my nightstand is a book about a woman's experiences and challenges she faced while a missionary in Haiti. I'm aslo trying to read Ted Dekker's latest. When I'm deep into writing, I love reading page-turning suspense and romance. The kind I can lose myself in without a care if the author used an unnecessary adverb or a gerund.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I read a wide variety, and though I'm sure on some subcon level what I read affects my writing, I'm not aware of it. Right now I'm reading the Best American Short Stories.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Just finished Francine Rivers "Mark of the Lion " series. It was awesome!


Kym McNabney said...

Love this post. I am always reading though I did cut down when I discovered I was doing more reading them writing. Reading greatly influence my writing. A well written and wonderful story will not only teach me how to write, it pushes me to write. It fills me up with the desire to write like them.

On the other hand a poorly written book will teach me what not to write, and will give me a shred of hope that if they can get published, so can I but what it won’t do is send an adrenalin rush through me, pushing me to the computer in an attempt to create a good book like the wonderful one I was reading.

Carole said...

I read your post on the international fiction website and wanted to congratulate you on your book coming out next year, Catherine. I love discovering new authors and look forward to reading it.

I read a lot of Christian fiction, but I have always enjoyed women's fiction, especially all the authors you mentioned. Kate Morton is my most recent discovery. I recently read The House at Riverton (what an incredible book!) and am eager to read her others. I had forgotten how much I loved this genre.