vb – (often foll by: on) to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length
n – pointless chat; chatter
COLLINS ENGLISH DICTIONARY – COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED, 12TH EDITION 2014 © HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
“All books are divisible into two classes,
the books of the hour, and the books of all time.”
– John Ruskin
Last night, I put my hobgoblin (code for toddler) to sleep, made a cup of hot tea, turned on the classical radio and settled in with Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I promptly laughed out loud (yes, really) at myself. I have met a handful of friends who would consider this a well-spent evening. In truth, it’s been a while since I’ve indulged myself like that, or seemed to. All I could think of was how big of an “intellectual snob” I can be at times. (cue Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference 😉
For the record, I hate Mansfield Park. The novel, while rife with the usual Austen wit, is bogged down with a constant question over morality. She still manages to poke fun of nobility while posing provoking questions. But there’s just no one I feel I can relate to.
“When a man says he sees nothing in a book, he very often means that he does not see himself in it.”
– A.W. Hare and J.C. Hare, Guesses at Truth
Not every book needs a hero for us to step into their boots, but it does make for extra fun reading. And after going from Pride & Prejudice to this it just feels blah… Still, I soldier on. Sometimes that’s what classical literature is. It’s not a quick read, it makes you think and ponder. It’s a lot easier to breeze through a lightweight commercial fic.
So what’s this all about, you may be asking?
Simply this: what are you reading? What books have you read this year that stood out to you? Have you read only contemporary romance or thriller novels, or do you branch into different genres?
This year I decided to try for 100 books, for my Goodreads challenge. Each year I attempt some heavier lit, like tackling all the Austen novels (last year was all my Tolkien). But I didn’t want to limit myself to just one genre. While I tend to favor fantasy for obvious reasons, I love historical fiction and contemporary and everything in between. Except for John Grisham novels, those are tough reads for me, too much legalese. I dove back into book blogging this year so I could pick up new authors I hadn’t heard of, and help my fellow Indie’s spread the word with reviews. I’ve also made a point to read more diverse books this year, as well as literary magazines, anything that would help broaden my perspective a bit. At this point, I’m at 66 out of 100 and mainly attempting to stay afloat.
So… again, what’s the point of all this?
My point is, what are you reading? Most authors choose to write because of books. Because a story touched you as a child or young adult and planted the seed. It whispered to you as you grew older, made you want to tell the kind of stories you loved reading. But the more you write, the more it becomes part of your everyday work, your routine, the easier it is to forget your first love. By first love, I mean books, of course. While we aren’t all obligated to read 100 books per year, or even twenty, it is so important that we read.
“Read few books well.”
– John Horne Tooke, Recollections of S. Rogers
Read books in genres you don’t write, and read biographies and other non-fiction. Read what you wish you had written, and books that will challenge you.
One of the easiest and soundest cures for writer’s block (besides writing) is reading. Remember what made you fall in love with stories in the first place. If you’ve no writerly aspirations, let me encourage you to branch out a bit today. Read something that isn’t in your comfort zone, alongside your latest HEA. Be enlightened and challenge your mind. I promise you’ll be richer for it, even if it makes you as much of an “intellectual snob” as I. 😉
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
– Sir Richard Steele, Tatler
Goals for this week
Reach 30K in Bound Beauty!
Read 5 books (and finish Mansfield Park)
Work on developing a better daily schedule again.
“Triangulate Dialogue” – by Storm Writing School
“Ebook Friendly”– the “ebook geek heaven”
“Editing Fiction Like a Pro” – via Writer’s Digest