Intentionally reading fiction
One of my intentions for this new year was to read books I wouldn’t normally read.
For the record, I will not be reading Wizard of Oz because it was, and always will be, a cinamatic nightmare to me.
However, I read in a recent article that writers should read a lot, and also read outside their genre.
I almost exclusively read non-fiction - from humor to ghost and philosophical books. Outside my genre would be things most everyone else reads, which brings me no comfort when I think about writing a book for people to actually read.
I only read four fiction books in the past 10 years - The Alchemist, The Help, The Weekender and Eat, Pray, Love. All four of them were great books. In fact, The Alchemist, The Help and Eat, Pray, Love are on my list top 50 books of all time.
Fiction is a wonderful genre for reasons that are for an entirely different discussion, but my brain is wired to write non-fiction. I’m just naturally drawn to it.
This is the reason I made it my intention to read fiction books in 2019, because I’m thinking it’s good for a person to get out of their comfort zone for a while. I happen to be a person who needs to get out of their comfort zone, so perfect match.
Just a side note, I call them intentions instead of resolutions because resolutions sounds bossy and overwhelming, and I don’t respond well to that. Intentions sounds more like a loving suggestion where nobody is the boss of me.
In a surprise Christmas move, my son, Tom’s gift to me was a novel, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I had not mentioned to him about my intention of reading fiction books this year. I hadn’t even picked a book to start on.
He fixed that for me, and he didn’t even know it.
He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature, which is fancy talk for he is reading many, many, many, many books and writing as many papers, I assume. This is one of the books he is reading, and he thought it would be cool if we read a book together and could discuss it.
What that did to my heart, you don’t know. It was a thoughtful and timely gift. What it is doing to my psyche, well, let me tell you.
It is a 509-page book that will take a solid year to read, if I stay the course.
I decided this after I turned the book over, then opened it and eyeballed the font size of the text. Then I read the reviews on the back cover and was certain I was in way over my head.
I have no doctorate in English. I have a (no longer) secret disdain for literature. Don’t hate me. I don’t have a master’s degree, nor a bachelor’s degree. But I am happy to report that I am a junior in college and have been about 30 years, with a major in English because I love words very much. All of them, even those bad ones.
Deeply touched and yet completely terrified by this 10-foot-tall Christmas gift, I promised to start the book on January 1. I did, and I’ve set time aside every day to dive in.
I don’t want to give anything away, in case my recommendation of Cloud Atlas causes a rush of sales at Books-A-Million and Amazon, but it seems the book is written in several parts, and several genres within fiction.
This means I will have met every single reading intention for the next decade if I finish this mission; and I haven’t looked up the definitions to this many words since my high school senior thesis.
It took me two days to get hooked - it was a slow start, and it pains me to admit I almost broke the Google dictionary for a hot minute. But like all good things, it’s been worth the bumpy ride, and I am totally invested in the story.
I’m thinking of getting Tom the whoopie cushion he doesn’t even know he wants yet for Christmas this coming year, along with the complete works of Erma Bombeck.
LOOKING FOR A GOOD NON-FICTION READ AS WELL?
Click the link below to get my book released last year - it’s a fun, interesting read….about GHOSTS IN TEXAS!
Thank you in advance, beautiful readers.