Do you read to challenge yourself? Do you prefer to read for fun only? Do you ever pick up a book on the theory of something/anything and try to wrap your brain around it? Do you read outside your favorite genre? My view is that it’s healthy and probably even essential to read well beyond your genre and comfort zone if (and this is a big if) you want to be a published writer.
Seeing as I brought it up, I’ll share my current literary workouts (and I’m leaving out the mss I read for work as that’s a separate issue).
First, the easy one. I’ve just started the 1,100 page monster bio on T. E. Lawrence titled aptly enough, Lawrence of Arabia, The Authorized Biography. I’m fascinated by Lawrence and this should give me lots to chew on. I would categorize this as being well within my comfort zone.
Now here’s the really challenging one that has me nervous. I’m going to start reading Kathryn Smith’s Let The Night Begin. It’s a romance…with vampires. In my life I don’t think I’ve read a book that could ever be classified as a romance, and nothing with vampires either. I have no idea what to expect. Love, romance, erotica, sex…where’s the cavalry charge and hand grenades? Some readers have been kind of enough to offer comments on the “romance” between Konowa and Visyna and I’ll admit, it’s a rocky one. And I’ll also admit that’s part by design, and part because I genuinely am not sure just how one makes a romance work. So, long past time I started to do a little research. It could be that a vampire romance isn’t the one to start with, but in fact I think it’s exactly the one I should start with. Now where did I put those scented candles and garlic…