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Sunday, January 6, 2008

What's on Your Reading List?

I’ve seen a lot of books recommended on other lists for the best of 2007—way more than I could ever read. Since my reading time is precious, stolen time from my writing I have to be careful and read wisely. And well. What do I want in a good book?

Entertainment—Sometimes I need a dose of laughter, something absurd or tongue-in-cheek. I like to sprinkle those in throughout the year. It’s also entertaining to be taken to a place or setting I’ve never experienced. I’m not the sort who has to identify with the story or the main character. Empathy or rooting for an offbeat or downtrodden character takes me down roads I’ve not traveled. Like a Calgon bath—they take me away.

Challenging—I didn’t read any really long books this past year, although some were pretty meaty. I’ve picked two this year with more than 1000 pages. A challenge can also come from reading something literary or outside my normal genres. I also like books that make me think beyond my normal self, that make me yearn to be a different person, or change me in some way. Often, it’s an unexpected read that does that, and I love the surprise of it.

Mysteries—I’m directing my writing toward the mystery genre (I’ve dreamed of writing a mystery for as long as I’ve been breathing almost) so I want to cast a wide net and read even more mysteries than usual (an even dozen last year).

Books on craft—Some will be repeats. Some new to me.

One rule I’m enforcing this year. If I’m not engaged in the story by the first 50 pages, I won’t torture myself finishing it. Life is too short, and there are a hundred other books that can easily take its place.

I’ve made a short list and will add to it as the months roll on.

World Without End by Ken Follett
The Stand by Stephen King
A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
Reluctant Smuggler and Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson
More books in the Colton Parker Series by Brandt Dodson
Magic Time by Doug Marlette
Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace
A Bigger Life by Annette Smith
A Seahorse in the Thames by Susan Meissner
Portuguese Irregular Verbs and At The Villa of Reduced Circumstances by Alexander McCall Smith
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (again)
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain (again)

Just writing them down and gazing at the covers makes me homesick for reading. I can’t imagine a world without books. Hmmmm. . . . maybe that’s why I yearn to be a published author—to see my name on a book cover and know that somewhere, someone has MY book on her to-be-read pile.

Anything here look interesting to you? What are you reading in 2008?

2 comments:

Amy Wallace said...

Hey, Carla!

Thanks so much for adding Ransomed Dreams to your reading list for 2008! I pray it will not only engage and entertain, but also speak to your heart.

Abundant grace and Happy 2008!

The Koala Bear Writer said...

Not familiar with any of the books on your list except for the writing ones. :) Hope you enjoy them! Right now I'm reading books on pregnancy/birthing, but also have some writing books (like Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell) that I'd love to check out. Plus a library card and a long list of titles that have been catching my eye when I walk past them there... :)