April 16 – 22: “What kind of reading material do you select while writing a new draft?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5Dp you read while you write? If so, what kind of reading material do you select while writing a new draft? We posed this question to ITW Members Heather Graham, Michael Bradley, James M. Jackson, Max Karpov, Ann Parker, Robert Black Whitehill, T.G. Wolff, Carrie Rubin and Kelli Stanley and can’t wait to read what they have to say! Scroll down to the “comments” section to follow along.


Kelli Stanley is the Macavity Award-winning creator of the Miranda Corbie series (City of Dragons, City of Secrets, City of Ghosts), literary noir novels set in 1940 San Francisco and featuring “one of crime’s most arresting heroines” (Library Journal). She is also a Bruce Alexander Award and Golden Nugget Award winner, and a Shamus Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. Kelli has also published numerous short stories and essays, holds a Master’s Degree in Classics, and prefers her bourbon neat.

 

Robert Blake Whitehill is a screenwriter and author of the award-winning, critically acclaimed, bestselling Ben Blackshaw Thrillers set on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. He has written highly rated true crime TV for Discovery, including The New Detectives, as well as UXO (Unexploded Ordnance), a feature script that won Whitehill a fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

 

Max Karpov is the author of the new Russia thriller The Children’s Game. Karpov is the nom de plume of James Lilliefors, who also writes the Bowers and Hunter mystery series (The Psalmist, The Tempest), featuring Methodist pastor Luke Bowers and homicide detective (and agnostic) Amy Hunter. Karpov/Lilliefors is a native of the Washington, D.C. area. He currently lives with his wife in South Florida.

 

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series consisting of five novels and one novella. Jim splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and the past president of the 700+ member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

 

TG Wolff writes thrillers and mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. Cause and effect drive the stories, drawing from 20+ years’ experience in Civil Engineering, where “cause” is more often a symptom of a bigger, more challenging problem. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

 

Michael Bradley was born and raised in New Jersey, a fact that he hopes people won’t hold against him. He started life as a radio disc jockey, spending eight years “on-the-air” before realizing that he needed to get a real job. His broadcasting experience was handy for his supernatural thriller SIRENS IN THE NIGHT. It’s been called “smart, terrifying, heartbreaking” and a “compelling read”. His new thriller, FOLLOW YOU DOWN, was released this month from Amberjack Publishing.

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over two hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare. She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty-five languages. She has written over 200 novels and has 60 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from booksellers and writers’ organizations for excellence in her work, and she is also proud to be a recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers and was also awarded the prestigious Thriller Master in 2016.

 

A science writer by day and a crime fiction writer by night, Ann Parker pens the award-winning Silver Rush historical mystery series, set in the 1880s American West. The series features Leadville, Colorado, saloon-owner Inez Stannert—a woman with a mysterious past, a complicated present, and an uncertain future. Ann’s ancestors include a great-grandfather who was a blacksmith in Leadville, a grandmother who worked at the bindery of Leadville’s Herald Democrat newspaper, and a grandfather who was a Colorado School of Mines professor, and another grandfather who worked as a gandy dancer on the Colorado railroads. The series has won numerous awards, including the Colorado Book Award, the Colorado Gold Award, the Willa Literary Award, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award. A DYING NOTE, the sixth in the series, brings Inez to 1881 San Francisco, California. Scheduled for release April 2018.

 

Carrie Rubin is an award-winning medical thriller author with a background in medicine and public health. Her latest novel, The Bone Curse, is a genre-bending thriller that pits Western medicine against Haitian Vodou. It’s the first in a series about a man of science who gets caught up in otherworldly situations. Her other novels include Eating Bull and The Seneca Scourge. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers association. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons.

 

 

ITW

International Thriller Writers Inc represents professional authors from around the world. Learn more about them, their work, and the sources from which they draw their inspiration at the Official ITW Organization Website.

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62 Comments
  1. In particular, I feel empowered reading James Lee Burke and Alafair Burke, because they remember to take pains to set a scene, and to color in a rich environment in which the story unfolds.

    Burke pere makes sure the characters are not always in agreement, though they always come through for each other. Dave Robicheaux and Cletus Purcell are friends in spite of who they are as individuals. Like soldiers in a trench, they fight not so much for the great cause as they do to save each other’s lives.

    I want more of that flint-on-steel quality in the rapport between Blackshaw and Knocker Ellis in the Ben Blackshaw series.

    1. Hi Robert,
      It sounds as if you are analyzing the fiction books that you read during the writing phase. Do you do the same when you aren’t actively drafting? And do you highlight passages you particularly like? Just curious!

      1. Hi Ann, Reading the Burkes evokes a feeling, a descriptive mood that inspires me to pay more attention to my own work in that arena. It is analysis only in the loosest sense, the way one is enraptured by an arresting landscape. Yes, I’m staring at it. But no, I’m not parsing it. Just letting it resonate, and shake out in my work as it passes through me like a beautiful sound. RBW

    2. I can understand feeling empowered by the writing of James Lee Burke. He’s a master of description, who paints vivid scenes as well as anyone. I’ve enjoyed the Robicheaux novels.

      1. I so agree, Max Karpov. If I can do for the Chesapeake Bay and Smith Island in my Blackshaw books what James Lee Burke does for Bayou Teche and New Orleans in his Dave Robicheaux books, my pride of accomplishment would know no bounds. RBW

  2. I don’t consciously change my reading habits while writing a first draft, but this question made me wonder if I unconsciously modified my reading habits. Being a numbers kind of guy who also keeps lists, I looked at the books I read while I wrote the first draft of my current WIP, False Bottom, which is a suspense/thriller. I read eleven books, all mystery/suspense/thriller running the gamut from cozy to dark thriller.

    I compared that to the books I read at the same time the previous year when I was not working on a new draft when I read nine books: two science fiction and seven mystery/suspense/thriller.

    And I checked the year before that just for one additional data point. That period I read ten books, of which six were murder/suspense/thriller, two science fiction, and two nonfiction.

    I’ll stick with my premise that I don’t make any changes in my reading habits, but maybe if I do anything, it’s to concentrate more on my genre.

    1. Whoa! Like Michael Bradley, I’m impressed! Maybe if I kept a list I wouldn’t end up buying three copies of the same book… . So, James, have you wandered away from science fiction? Or was this just for the time that you were working on your first draft?

      1. Ann — That just happened to be the case in one instance — primarily because I was thinking about a YA trilogy and wanted to see what was happening.

        And yes, the list does help me avoid multiple copies of books — and when I am halfway through a book and I gradually think maybe I’ve read it before — I can check and find out whether it really is deja vu all over again.

    2. I’m starting to keep a list for the first time here in 2018 after someone asked me what I top ten reads were last year. Now, I certainly read more than ten books and some I even remembered, like that one with the guy who had a dog… So I started a list. I have my doubts that I’ll keep it up. A friend of mine not only captures the books, he captures quotes from the book. OMG.

      1. TG — Capturing quotes — now THAT puts me to shame. I have started adding a bit of info, like (De La Cruz #1) to give me a hint later on what the book was about. Memory — I used to have one. I think.

        1. Quotes?? Wow!
          I’m thinking maybe I should keep track in some way. Carrie mentions Goodreads… I dive in and out of Goodreads and often forget to list books there (or tag “done” on them). It sounds like a good idea to keep track of at least the ones I really like, so when someone asks “What have you read lately that you recommend?” my answer isn’t “Uhhhhh….”

      1. Carrie — Goodreads is very helpful, but it hasn’t been around for 50+ years, and I am not about to spend a week adding the information from all those years before I joined Goodreads.

        It’s a good solution for going forward, though, as long as I could keep a backup. Anything Amazon can disappear in the flash of a corporate decision.

  3. Interesting question. Reading other authors while writing can be a source of inspiration – but it can also put you “under the influence” of their rhythms and characters. Some writers I know avoid reading entirely as they work on a book in order to avoid this possibility. I’ve kind of developed a system where I go through several phases in the course of writing a novel. In the early stages, I read mostly non-fiction related to what I’m writing about. In the case of THE CHILDREN’S GAME, it was a lot of books and magazine pieces on Vladimir Putin and Russia. I’ll also read a few top-drawer thriller writers, whose books sometimes give me ideas for plotting and characterization. Once I’m into the writing, though, I don’t read thrillers. Usually I turn to history or fiction in a more “literary” vein – books that are well-written but completely different from what I’m doing. During THE CHILDREN’S GAME I read short stories by Alice Munro, an unusual novel called THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG – and somehow wound up with THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. I find that reading literary works helps keep a high standard for the writing without influencing it directly (in the way that a great thriller writer with an infectious style might – Elmore Leonard, say, or Lee Child). When I’m headed to the finish line, so to speak, I’m usually so immersed in the book that I cut out all outside reading (other than Twitter and an occasional magazine story). Every writer needs to find and develop his or her own style and concerns, and reading is an essential part of that process. But each writer also needs to find a balance that allows him (her) to grow. For me, it’s a process that’s always evolving. Would be interested to hear how other writers approach this tricky question.

    1. I’m like you. When working on my first draft, I try to avoid reading books from my contemporaries. I’ll look toward either classics or something in another genre. I get where you’re coming from with being “influenced” by another writer’s style and characters. It is hard to not be influenced, especially if it is an author whose skills you admire.

      It also depends on what I’m writing at the time. If I’m in the midst of a domestic thriller, reading a military thriller doesn’t bother me. But, I avoid anything that is too similar.

      1. I cross genres a bit, so I don’t necessarily find anything too similar to what I’m writing that might influence me. That said, I guess there are a few authors I might stay away from during my drafting phase. But I never write romance, so reading something in that genre is always a safe bet for me when setting the tone for my own novel.

      2. Yes, I sometimes find my work influenced by whoever I’m reading at the time and and up weeding out the influence a few days, or weeks, later. I too find Agatha Christie good to read while I’m writing, by the way. Partly the charm and novelty of her books and partly the intricate plots, I think.

        1. I find Christie’s work to be refreshing. Her plotting is truly a work of genius, particularly in “And Then There Were None.” That novel is by far one of my all-time favorites.

    2. Well, if we are counting Twitter and Facebook as “reading material,” I’d have to include mention of those venues as well. :-} And the daily newspapers. I love my cup of coffee in the morning along with the rattle of newsprint…
      Oh, and there’s the day job (science writing). I read/research quite a bit for my assignments, but it’s so different from the fiction side of life that it doesn’t interfere.

      1. Twitter is “light” reading. Although once you begin clicking on story links, the reading can become heavier (and more time-devouring). I guess there’s interference in terms of influence – and interference in terms of time.

      2. The problem with “reading Twitter” is that what was meant to be a quick ten minute task can quickly become two hours of lost time. I’ve found that I have to limit my time on social media when writing a first draft. Otherwise, it takes three times as long to finish the manuscript.

        1. Yep yep! Good point. I know there are writers who announce they are going to disappear from social media for a week/month/etc., so they can meet their deadlines. Not sure I could do that (which is a pretty sad things to say…).

          1. I’ve learned that cortisol levels elevate even if one’s phone is merely in the room. I can get absorbed in writing the Ben Blackshaw series, but there are times when I tumble down the rabbit hole. Maybe it’s more like a rat hole.

            The problem for me is, once the first book was out, there was suddenly a significant bump in administrative work around being published, and then came work on the film script adaptations. The deeper into this calling I go, the louder the Sirens sing to draw me off course toward the rocks.

            Legit research forays aside, social media becomes a mythic dream-space from which it is so hard to wake—to create my fictional world. There’s a paradox in there someplace…

            RBW

  4. I don’t really change up my fiction reading while writing a new draft. I generally read what’s next on my to-be-read list (which seems to grow exponentially). I do, however, read plenty of thrillers, just to keep my mind in sync with the genre I’m writing. I try to read every day, and that doesn’t really change when I’m starting a new project.

    I’ll also revisit books on the craft of writing. Reviewing concepts of story creation and characterization while I’m outlining and writing my first draft helps me include the elements I need for a good story.

    Some of my favorites are: “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks for general structure, “Techniques of the Selling Writer” by Dwight V. Swain for scene and sequel development, and “The First 50 Pages” by Jeff Gerke, since openings have their own considerations. I also love “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman and Becka Puglisi.

    1. Hi Carrie,
      Oh, good point re: the craft books. I forgot to call those out specifically. I also revisit such when I’m drafting. Hmmm. I’ll have to add an addendum to my answer.
      Two of your favorites are also mine: The Emotion Thesaurus and The First 50 Pages. I shall have to look up the rest and perhaps add them to my personal library. 🙂

      1. I have the Negative and Positive Trait Thesauruses too, but I always forget they’re there. It’s the Emotion one I reach for the most. I should probably revisit the others. They probably feel left out. 😁

  5. My reading habits change significantly when I am in a heavy writing mode. First, I read a lot less. It can take me days to read what I would normally kick out in a weekend afternoon or few evenings. Even when I’m not actively sitting in front of a keyboard, I’m daydreaming through the next scenes. Reading becomes limited to a “just before bedtime” activity.

    Second, I read light, fluffy stuff that is written in a very different style than mine. Light and fluffy because this is my down time, I’m not looking for Mensa level content. Different style because I can be influenced by other peoples style, especially when I am really into the story, and then I just have to clean it out again when I’m editing.

    So, what do I read…

    Romantic suspense. Maybe mix in a vampire or a werewolf. Probably not the coolest thing to admit in this forum but you know what…these stories are FUN. They are usually fast-past, with straight-up plots, dynamic characters, and little to no social relevance. These really do give my brain the break it needs to recharge and the space I need to be creative.

    If I read mysteries or suspense, it is often historical. Right now, I have Elizabeth Peters Amelia Emerson and Gary Corby Nicholaos mysteries on my table. Late-1890s Egyptian archeology and Athens at the emergence of democracy do not overlap with the stories of my Cleveland police detective Jesus De La Cruz or my ex-CIA freelancing agent Diamond. I am part of the on-line mystery reading group 4 Mystery Addicts and will often read the selections for the book discussion. With the depth of this genre, I still don’t have too much trouble with cross over. I just finished one set in Belfast, 1988 that, with the Irish slang, political reference, and geography, I was in no danger of being unduly influenced.

    Lastly, I re-read scenes from books I like. Think of this like watching a re-run of your favorite sitcom or just part of a favorite movie. I already know the story, so I don’t need to start at the beginning, and I don’t need to read to the end. In complex, multi-character stories, I may pick my favorite and just read the scenes with him / her in it. In romantic suspense, I may read just the suspense…or just the romance. In a mystery, I may read just the mystery line, skipping the filler. Or vice versa. I’m never compelled to read more than my eyes / head can take and always feel like I spent the evening with an old friend.

  6. I can’t say that I alter my reading habits all that much when I while I’m writing a first draft. I do try to steer clear of books from modern day thriller writers while I craft my prose, but I don’t hesitate to pick up a classic from the likes of Agatha Christie, Ian Flaming, Patricia Highsmith, or Raymond Chandler. I’ll often switch up my reading genres as well by picking up some non-fiction, humor, or classic sci-fi.

    I do have a list of blogs about writing that I keep up on, and tend to read more vigorously while I am working on a first draft. I often come across some real gems that help improve my overall story and prose.

    Like TG Wolff mentioned, I like some light while I’m writing a first draft. The lighter, the better. I often use the time during first draft creation to revisit something that I’ve read before, but want to revisit. For instance, I’m in the midst of a new first draft, and I’ve chosen to read “Groucho Marx and the Broadway Murders” by Ron Goulart. I read it a few years ago, but enjoyed it so much that I felt compelled to immerse myself in it once again.

  7. I read widely and tend to choose the genre depending on my mood. Bit like eating–had enough cake now I want savoury or had curry last night now I feel like Moussaka.

    At the moment I’ve just finished writing my latest rom sus and have discovered The Years by Virginia Woolf in my TBR pile so I’m getting into that. After her languid pace I’ll need something fast and murderous probably.

    1. Hi Elisabeth. Your “something fast and murderous” made me smile, because that’s exactly the type of book I like to read after I’ve finished a more literary one for my book club.

      1. I don’t know about the authors I’ve outgrown but there are authors whose books I reread and those I don’t. eg I’ve read the 12 volumes of A Dance To The Music Of Time by Anthony Powell 3 times and love them every time. Some books have such depth and nuance of character and observation that something new is revealed each time. Other books I enjoy, put down and forget about.

        I’m sinking into The Virginia Woolf and really enjoying her subtle commentary on growing older. I think that aspect of her writing will stay with me and maybe influence how I approach characterisation in future—without actually pinching her words.

  8. When I’m deep into “write mode,” my reading is almost entirely non-fiction/research-related.

    That said, I also facilitate a mystery book club that meets monthly at our local indie bookstore. Since I feel obligated to show up and, well, “facilitate,” I end up reading at least one mystery a month, even while working on a new book.

    Also, the drafting/scribbling process doesn’t stop me from *buying* fiction books (!!). As a result, I usually have a HUGE stack of escape fiction waiting for me once I emerge, blinking, into the light.

    1. Oh yes, research-related reading, I forgot to mention that. That’s a big part of early drafting. I do much of that online, of course, but reading books for research is sometimes nicer. You don’t get lost in a rabbit hole of web links!

      1. Hi Carrie!
        … Not to say that I *don’t* get lost in a rabbit hole of web links. :-} This happens most frequently late at night, when my defenses are down!
        I also love finding online historical books and documents that have been digitized. For instance, two great books I found while researching 1881 San Francisco for my most recent book are “Lights and Shades in San Francisco,” by B. E. Lloyd, published 1876, and “Americanisms, Old and New” by John Stephen Farmer, published 1889 (okay, just a tad later than I’m writing, but close). I downloaded the e-books from the Internet Archive, and eventually bought paper copies. I’m hopeless!

          1. Me too with the admiration for historical writers, Carrie. I recently had an idea for a book that would start in Renaissance Venice and end up in the present with stops along the way in various time periods.
            My goodness!
            I put out a call to my book group for anything of use for the Renaissance part and now have a very heavy bag of non fiction books to comb through. This is going to be a loooonng (and possibly unfinished) project. The problem will be staying focused on what I actually need to know.

            This research reading won’t interfere with any other stories I start writing though.

    2. Ann — I suppose that is something of an advantage/disadvantage of writing historical fiction. Are you reading nonfiction for the book you are writing or the next one after that or something else entirely?

      1. Hi James!
        I’m usually reading nonfiction for the WIP… I do some research at the start, of course, but there’s always more to investigate as I get deep into the story. Too, I often bump up against tidbits that get me thinking about the next book or the one after that. I try to take notes, but my office is a hopeless mess of sticky notes and physical notebooks (and my e-files aren’t much better), so sometimes it takes a while to unearth those glimmers of inspiration later on.
        You sound much more organized than I am. Do you have a process for keeping track of ideas for future books? (<–Perhaps this question is a little off topic, but I'm curious…)

    3. Very interesting, Ann Parker.

      When I’ve gorged on great fiction, there’s no better refreshment than well-written non-fiction. It hones my thinking for getting perspective on my own fiction writing.

      How does that work, I wonder?

      RBW

  9. I have always loved to read just about anything and everything, so in general, I will sometimes be reading thriller, mystery, sci-fi, suspense . . . just about anything. I also love non-fiction, and often, when I’m working on a story, I find that I’m reading all kinds of non-fiction that relates to what I’m working on. I usually choose places I know and love as settings for stories–but I’ve even discovered that I’ve had to look up information about places I think I know. And, of curse, there isn’t a place anywhere that isn’t filled with fascinating stories–we, as human beings, create them wherever we go. Right now, I’m back in New Orleans, a place that’s like a second home to me, and I’m still discovering places, people, and incredible bits of history I knew nothing about. I’m a huge fan of Eric Larson and there are many other non-fiction writers I love. I admit to often having a few books going at the same time–audio in my car, a thriller, mystery, romantic suspense in my purse (have books on Kindle, but love a book-book!) and a pile of non-fiction by the computer. When the computer is with me, those books are in the computer bag. Readers are incredibly lucky people, and I consider myself to be a reader. The world is always at our feet!

    1. That’s great you can read so many books at one time. The best I can manage is a nonfiction book at the same time as a novel. Even then I find myself wanting to return to the same one until it’s done. So many books, so little time…

    2. Reading multiple books at once would be a challenge for me. I usually can only buzz through one at a time. Otherwise I start getting the books mixed up, resulting in an odd jumble of storylines in my head. Kind of like Katniss Everdeen falling in love with Mr. Darcy while being hunted by a teenage wizard named Philip Marlowe. Then I get all confused.

      Heather, you are so right. Readers are the luckiest people in the world. There is such a vast amount of material available. Of course, there is never enough time. I’ll be lucky if I make it through my “To Read” list before a die. And I keep adding to the list on a weekly basis.

      1. “Kind of like Katniss Everdeen falling in love with Mr. Darcy while being hunted by a teenage wizard named Philip Marlowe.”–I think you’re onto something for a fan fiction piece, Michael. 😄

  10. I research as I go, so the first TBR pile is usually all about what I’m writing. I actually try to stay away from fiction while I’m immersed in a draft, particularly in the early stages … each book is an entire world (one that we can stretch out in multiple books, if writing a series), and, for me at least, it takes a lot of energy to build the world to a point where I can stay in the “zone”, even when I’m not writing.

    Here’s what I mean: I think most writers “write” all the time … in the shower, cleaning the house, taking a walk. I’m in the “zone” when I feel like my book world is set up enough to allow me to “write” with real life and other fictional worlds intruding. In other words, my book world’s gotta stand up to me sitting through 60 Minutes and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    Because reading is a more magical, intimate relationship with material than film, reading well-done fiction or literature is an even stronger challenge to the integrity of what I’ve built. When I’m world-building and writing, my subconscious is open and therefore vulnerable … and I don’t want to start thinking like, say, Jane Austen when I’m writing hardboiled.

    So, if I read any fiction while composing my own, it tends to be something that complements the world I’ve created and is in a “safe” zone in terms of influence. For the Miranda Corbie series, I might read Hammett or Chandler, because they are my strongest models for the narrative and they’re both classic authors who’ve influenced generations of writers.

    I also make exceptions for authors who have asked for a blurb, though I do try to time my reading around the point where I’m feeling the most secure in my own narrative and my own voice for that narrative.

    Reading IS magic. It allows us to have mind-melds with people who lived two thousand and more years ago; it allows us to escape, to dream, and thus to progress. Writing, in a way, is the active yang to reading’s yin, and I try to balance both! 🙂

    1. A hardboiled Jane Austen? Ha, that sounds intriguing. Kind of a “The Big Sleep meets Little Women.” I wonder how Philip Marlowe would do up against Austen’s sensibilities. I love the way you describe reading as being a “more magical, intimate relationship.” It explains why Hollywood film adaptations are often disappointments when compared to the book. There is a deeper connection between the reader and the characters in books than in the cinema. The underlying nuances of a character just can’t be conveyed on the screen in two and a half hours.

      1. Lol … Wickham is certainly a kind of homme fatale, but yeah, I don’t see Elizabeth and Darcy walking down the mean streets–not with Pemberley in their pockets, so to speak. 😉

        Thanks, Michael. I totally agree. And I think the act of reading increases intelligence–not just what we read, but the act itself. The ability to process information through symbol is the best workout for our brains yet invented, in my opinion. And then there’s “reader-response” theory, which examines where the creativity of the writer ends and where that of the reader begins …

        1. Elizabeth and Darcy on the mean streets… Hmmmm. Sounds interesting to me! 😀
          Reading, a good workout for the brain. I cannot imagine NOT reading. It would be like not breathing.

          1. I totally agree, Ann! But it’s scary to realize how few people actually read for pleasure, especially fiction.

            Employment in a corporate environment seems to encourage the reading of business and self-help books, and maybe the occasional non-fiction. Novels–and the pace of reading–seems to be eschewed for faster-paced consumption of other entertainment.

            I have hope in younger generations, though–they grew up on Harry Potter, and hopefully that bonded them to the process of reading, especially fiction!

          2. I have hope for “the kids” too, Kelli… Both of mine buy books–hardcover, tradepaper–and like to hang out at brick-and-mortar bookstores. (Note: My “kids” are in their twenties. Still kids to me!)
            Of course, perusing social media eats up a fair chunk of time that could otherwise be spent reading… but that goes for me too!

        2. Yes, agree that reading is magic. Nice description. Writing, of course, is magic, too. For me, the magic works best when only one of them (writing or reading) is center-stage at a time.

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