The professor stressed each week how important our reading lists were. We were encouraged to include books that we had read before. Twenty-five books is a considerable amount of books for such a short period.
My advisor encouraged me to add Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. And it is a wonderful book, but be warned it is a novel in stories in which Olive appears as a main or minor character at some point within the story. Olive is not a very likable person, but there are moments where her humanity prevails.
I also reread Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I had forgotten about the richness of the details, the characters, and the conflict.
The first time I read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, I hated it, but I was in my first year of high school. I just did not understand the relationships, the deceit, or the characters. At that time in my life, it was dry and boring. I struggled through it. Now, I have a new lens that has matured. If you have not read The Great Gatsby since high school and several years have passed, give it a try. I don't think you'll be able to put it down.
Reading encourages me to write. I love to read the setting details revealed by other authors. I love to see how they develop their characters, set the pace of the novel, introduce and work through conflict, and I love to see the way they reveal the resolution.
What am I reading now?
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister (She Reads Selection of the Month for February)
The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone's (She's a local author published by Hub City Press)
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose