What are you reading? I frequently ask people this question. So? Yep, give. You. And not only do I want to know what you are reading but why you are reading it and what the book is about and if you like what you are reading or not. I want to know the author and the genre and if it has a lot of pages or not so many. And if it's a series and who told you to read it. I'm making up for the time I won't be able to read everything that's ever been written. I wasted too many good years not reading, and I need details. So, give.
I lament that I'm a slow reader. I've always been and practice hasn't helped. I tend to read several books at once, which also doesn't help my progress, but I need to read for many reasons, for enjoyment, research and craft. It all adds up to slow going.
Here's my reading list as it awaits on my bedside table.
Not pictured, Twenty Years After. This is the Alexandre Dumas story of what happens to the Musketeers, you guessed it, 20 years after the end of the first story. It is not as good as its predecessor. But I'm reading it to inform the stories I'm writing, which complete storylines within the context of Dumas's world. I'll have to admit, I take my liberties.
Also, I will soon start reading the latest translation of The Three Musketeers by Richard Pevear, published in 2006. I've heard it is excellent. Someday, I might try my own spin on the novel, but it won't be a translation because I don't know any French. It'll have to be a retelling, and not of the YA variety.
When all the hype about the J.D. Salinger book came out recently, I pulled out a book of his short stories and read the one called For Esme -- With Love and Squalor. Excellent. Thank you to the lender.
I just bought The Black Count by Tom Reiss, which is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. It is the story of the father of Alexandre Dumas (do you understand why I get eye rolls from my family when I mention The Three Musketeers?).
A dear college friend of mine, who has begun to write (I take a little credit for inspiring her), sent me a copy of Naked, Drunk, and Writing by Adair Lara. This promises to be a hoot-and-a-half, though I wonder if encouraging me to drink more, get naked more and write more is a prudent suggestion.
At a yard sales we organized this summer, I met an inspirational writer, Jennifer Powers, who lives in Portland. She came to our sale and bought a big Teddy bear. She also happens to be the author of Oh, Shi*f*t! How to Change Your Life with a Little F'in Shift. I need more than a little f'ing one, but don't tell anyone. Her book is funny.
Another friend, who I credit with reviving my love of fiction, handed me a copy of Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, which also won a Pulitzer. And underneath that gem is Cheryl Strayed's Wild, a borrowed copy from a writer friend here. I have a book by said friend to read after Wild along with essays by writers in The Writer's Notebook II from Portland's Tin House Books. I picked it up at the Willamette Writer's conference.
Last but not least, I infrequently flip through a copy of No Fear Shakespeare, of the sonnets with notes to understand them.
Those are within arm's reach at night. What's on your reading radar?