As part of a writers toolbox (and just the plain reason of books) I must build a collection of readings, with a wide variety. Those in the genre I write, those that teach me, and those that allow for coloring outside the lines, thinking and experience outside my box. To know and understand (or at least seek to) that the world is much larger than me, is to grow that much more in my writing. And hopefully along the way, in my Self.
It is easy to get into a reading rut and not even know what to read outside of it. Standing in the middle of a bookstore during your Outside Of Your Box Mission can go from being a pleasurable thing to an overwhelming one. Even slightly embarrassing.
Today there are a lot of resources on providing ideas outside of the NYT Best Sellers List…or the Oprah Book Club. Websites like BookRiot & GoodReads provide many categorized lists to choose or get ideas from. (Nothing I like better than lists & Books except lists OF books)
My reading list for 2016, a big year on consciously thinking about what I would read ahead of time and not just in random. I not only read to read but read to write, building my writers toolbox IS a part of my job. But I also like to read for the Better Me, business (with years of working in the business and corporate world I love it as well as like to keep abreast of it, however it comes in handy when running my writing as a business rather than a pleasure) I even enjoy the world economics of it. Much of business and finance is the shaping of the world, as well as my life, my writing and my published works.
I read on a line of projects I have in the works or leading up to (as I work on one project there is always another happening) so 2016 reading had a lot involved in relationships of people (couples, friends, parental, so forth) as does Greek Mythology and Angels and Religion.
Once in awhile I simply want a novel that calms, soothes, relaxes, takes me away…much how a simple movie or tv show might do.
The feminist in me as well as the memoir lover brings me a few titles to my list in which also cover a lot in art and music. Even comedy.
And then there is forever the scholar in me, the always asking WHY three year old inside of me, sometimes fulfilling me with knowledge that unexpectedly shapes my life and my view of it. Always searching. Always learning. Seeking knowledge.
There is the traveler of other lands in imagination as well as in physical form. And other lands, other times, and others magic (I loved the Mists of Avalon years ago.)
There was a time way before even aged twenty-five when a dozen books of divorce got me through the emotional wreckage of my own first and young divorce, even if they didn’t help exactly, the seeking for it had.
The Burbank book club that I once organized and brought together many different people, mostly within the film and music business, many in documentary. The insight from others was eye opening.
I remember the summers of around age ten when my best friend/cousin and I would ride our bikes to the library, check out books on a subject and then go match it up, learn with them when walking through the big forestic park with a wide creek running through it. Birds, fish, tree’s and more. We learned how much more there was than the eye could see. Soaking up the knowledge from the books and making them real by seeking out and matching in real existence to the pages of the book. The saving of the ducks nest of eggs didn’t go over real well though.
There was my mothers handing me of Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, opening a whole world to me…the one of becoming a writer. Learning to draw on experience and life. And that not all experiences were wasted.
I now draw from a lot of the lists from websites mentioned above as well as magazines and sites like The Muse , Inc. Magazine , Entreprenuer Magazine ,Forbes ,LinkedIn and even from blogs, Twitter, and Instagram. Often I stumble upon something quite…jusr right.
With a year of Presidential elections, the always loved to read about it historian in me, has gone back to read books of and by past Presidents, world history, of wars, and economy and politics, slavery and laws, human rights in AID’s, gay, race, and women, women’s suffrage and more. And I seek at least one counter view of each.
I love reading about health and the human brain in medical and psychology terms. This type of reading has always been one of my ‘weird hobbies, always one to land on the list. Basically if it interests you…find a book about it to add to your list. If it’s something you would like to do, read about it, or about people who do it. If it’s something that affects you, read it, if it’s in the work that you do, read (for a writer this is about actual writing, editing, publishing, publishers, the world market of writing/books/writers/publishers, the how-to, other authors and everybodies say-so, the genre you write in. The books and authors you like and those you don’t to learn from and why you don’t like them. Topics written about in your writing, but also business, business economics, business management, marketing and sales. Even design. I read the 1st of Fifty Shades for a sort of essay on why it was so popular (I also had my years of teenaged experience of sneaking into my mothers old trashy paperback romances to compare to.)
When you read about a company who made a big marketing mistake…don’t scroll past that…stop and read and learn from the bad and the mistakes and the why it didn’t work and even sometimes what people are saying about it.
All things can be taken with a grain of salt, advice most so, but one has to read it all to know what is good and what is worthless. To read open minded is best to understand what to soak in and what to pass over.
I choose my writing more these days by the writers as artists now, since starting a career and path as a writer. And because I am big on supporting local arts and businesses, I make an effort to read local writers, which has been a very pleasant surprise . Somehow the Art of Writing still falls wayside the circle of Art, as a seperate when speaking Of The Arts. I try to be sure it is incuded. And the stumble across authors by Facebook .
I always seek out a walk through libraries on travels and Independnt Bookstores . I stroll through and find certain books on my list, buy one ‘by its cover’ and a few random at all times.
And the NYT BEST Sellers List still has effect.
What are ways that you choose what you read?