Friday, December 28, 2012

My year of reading

Or rather, of not reading much at all.

Turns out that my happy personal life took up most of my time, you see, and in addition to not writing, I was not reading much either. Oh sure, I read a few books here and there - almost all of them for review here or over at Guys Lit Wire, but otherwise, I did precious little reading, apart from Better Homes & Gardens and the occasional Family Circle or Woman's Day, with a quick peek at M's Us Weekly now and then.

Otherwise, what I read were a few manuscripts for friends and several manuscripts for clients. I sort of stumbled into the consulting business when someone approached me to ask if I'd do such a thing, and I find I like it quite a bit.

I've been trying to figure out why my reading dropped off so much, and I suspect it's for similar reasons as my writing did. (And yes, I believe the two are interrelated.) The interesting thing is that my sweetheart is also quite a reader, and his reading bottomed out as well. He likes to read about martial arts (mostly tai chi and qi gong), of course, because that's one of his main passions. But he also loves to read what I think of as guy novels - spies and soldiers, mostly, involving a lot of tech-speak.

Last weekend found the two of us snuggled up on the couch, with him reading a recent Clancy novel and me reading Anne Lamott's HELP, THANKS, WOW: The Three Essential Prayers. Very different subject matter, I can assure you, but we enjoyed our together-but-reading-alone time quite a bit, and I suspect there will be more of it in the future.

I can, however, tell you that I particularly appreciated the few books that I read for myself this year, including John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, in all its heartbreaking gorgeousness, and Lauren Willig's The Garden Intrigue, the most recent of the Pink Carnation novels. I'm very much looking forward to the next one, I must say, and a bit interested in having a look at the start of her new novel, The Ashford Affair. I love what I've read of the latest Mary Oliver collection, A Thousand Mornings, as well as my friend Bruce Niedt's latest chapbook, Twenty-Four by Fourteen. And I really enjoyed The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, too, for its stories as well as the recipes I've tried. That makes TWO blogger cookbooks that I especially love, the first being Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. And I enjoyed Jonah Lehrer's book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, even if the book was subsequently pulled and its author discredited for making up Bob Dylan quotes.

Most authors will tell you that if you want to be a writer, you need to be a reader. And I believe that's correct. So I'm glad to be back to reading. Right now, I'm reading Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, a memoir about his mother's fight with (and death from) cancer, and their shared love of books.

Tell me what you're reading?

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