In her “Rules for Writing” post, it is Australian writer Hannah Kent’s number one rule.
“To be a good writer you must, first and foremost, be a good reader. How else will you learn what to do? Read as much as possible, as often as possible, and if you read something you like, or something that makes you laugh, or something that moves you in a strange, ineffable way, ask why.” ~ Hannah Kent
In her “Twelve ‘Classic’ Women Writer’s post last month Kat expressed her plan to read some of the classics this year. My goal is just to get my to-be-read pile down to a manageable size before it topples over and hurts someone. To that end, once a month I’ll be checking in to report on my reading progress and to see what everyone is reading. Hopefully I won’t wind up with an even bigger to-be-read pile as a result.
Without further ado, here’s what I read this month:
A new author
First up was Best Man For Hire by Tawna Fenske. I first met Tawna several years ago on a blog we both followed, and later learned more about her on Facebook and her own Don’t Pet Me I’m Writing blog. She writes quirky steamy romantic comedies. Emphasis on the steamy. And the quirky. This is the third book in her Front and Center series. The heroine is a wedding planner who specializes in unusual weddings, and the her hero is “so perfect he’s practically a Boy Scout—if Boy Scouts were big, ripped Marines with gorgeous gray eyes, and good at, oh, everything. Especially sex.” Though I hadn’t read the first two books in the series, I jumped right in with this one and found it enjoyable and entertaining. I’m definitely going to have to dig through my TBR pile and retrieve books one and two. I will admit to blushing and looking away from time to time, but the book was a fun read. Tawna has a real knack for making the most innocent of phrases sound not so innocent at all.
“That sounded filthier than I meant it.” ~ Tawna Fenske
Next up was the classic, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Written in 1859, it is considered to be one of the first (if not the first) mystery novel, and is a world away from the first book I mentioned. For one thing, it’s long. My print version is over 600 pages. It was also written for a different type of audience (and I’m not just talking about a non-quirky / non-steamy one). Initially published in serial form, it has a leisurely feel to it; packed with description and narrative. The most interesting aspect of the story is that it is told from multiple narrators, giving unique perspectives of the story. It was based, in part, on an eighteenth century case of abduction and wrongful imprisonment, and uses the theme of substituted identity, which was said to be a favourite of Collins. The book wasn’t a quick read by any means, but it was worth the time and a nice change of pace from Regency and Contemporary fiction.
“This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.” ~ Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White
Last up was Emotional Awareness by The Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman. The book documents a series of conversations between two curious men about human emotions and the pursuit of psychological fulfillment. Emotional experiences, meditative practices, and the nature of compassion are just a few of the topics that they discuss and try to reach an understanding about. Written in an interview-style format with a bit of humour mixed with its probing discussions, the book is a science meets philosophy/religion intellectual joining of the minds. Reading was slow going at points, as it took time to digest their discussions, but a worthwhile read that left me with a better understanding of compassion and emotional balance than I started out with.
So, what have you read recently?