Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Write Now: Reading Like A Writer

I just finished my senior thesis. Part of that particular project was to compile a reading list of twenty-five books. The professor asked that we concentrate on books that would help us with our chosen topic. Mine was to incorporate more setting details and to make my male characters stronger.

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

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