Steal, er, borrow from the best

From interview to interview I’ve noticed several questions get asked over and over. A clear favorite is the one about what I read, so I thought I’d share a photo of the latest book I devoured, and I mean that nearly literally. Between bookmarks and jotted down notes I found myself dissecting the book as much as reading it. Many times I had to force myself to put my pen down, flip back a few pages, and just read and enjoy. Tuchman’s prose is sublime. And keep in mind, this is a book of nonfiction about the first month of the First World War. Her ability to seamlessly move between grand strategy and personal conflicts while connecting a myriad of dots is breathtaking. Oh, and she won the Pulitzer for this.

Every writer starts out as an aspiring writer. If you’re currently one (and I count myself among you because I’m striving to get better with every book I write) then you owe it yourself to read widely, intently, and with purpose.

  1. mythusmage

    One of these days I’m gonna hafta read Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror. If anything, the Plague Years are a better match to today’s times than they ever were to the 20th century.

    Along those lines here’s a new genre just for you; Plague Punk. Applying the punk sensibility to the days of the Black Death. Do a bit of studying on 14th and 15th century Europe and you’ll not things like nigh universal despair; social, intellectual, political, and religious upheaval; and even multinational corporations running municipalities, as witness the Hanseatic League and its member cities.

    Ronald considered his fellows a moment before deciding to lay it out straight.

    “Our computer has been hacked,” he announced to groans and whimpers, “The deed appears to have been done by an axe, and his dismembered corpse was scattered about his ordinary.”

    As the voices of the others began to rise he added, “No, there was no sign of his work anywhere to be found, but from scribbled notes and crumpled foolscap it appears he was not yet done with his calculations.”

    • admin

      One of these days I do plan to read through her whole oeuvre, but I’m back to being eyeball deep in mss for work so it will have to wait.

      That’s an interesting combination. Are you working on that (is that a section from your novel?) I’ve never been into the punk side of things, but I can definitely see the potential there for a writer who is.




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