On reading

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So many books, so little time

Stephen King reads more than 80 books a year. I thought I was ahead of the game attempting to read 50 books a year. Since I started keeping track:

2010 – 10 books (It was a bad year in many ways) (9 fiction, 1 non-fiction)
2011 – 32 (14 fiction, 18 non-fiction)
2012 – 33 (24 fiction, 9 non-fiction)
2013 – 37 (24 fiction, 13 non-fiction).

I felt rather chastised after reading King’s book On Writing because he is reading all the time (even waiting in line at the post office, etc). His advice is basically that writers must immerse themselves in books in order to improve writing skills. I agree with this. And as I am writing fiction, I feel like I haven’t been reading enough fiction.

This year I decided to read more fiction, and I started the early months off wonderfully. I read 11 books by the first week in February. But I am not Stephen King, and there was a backlash…repercussions. Since that first week in February I have been reading strictly non-fiction (except for some of the blogs I keep up with). I went far too long without getting my dose of reality. My interests are far too varied to keep my nose buried in novels when there is so much I have to learn and know about everything.

And as far as the 50 books/year goes, well – I will keep that goal, just so that I am constantly moving forward and improving myself. And even though I feel bad sometimes that I haven’t made that goal yet, I don’t think that is a bad thing, considering that I don’t take into account the thousands of words of news I read daily, or my subscriptions to The Economist, YES!, Wired, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Entertainment Weekly,¬†Family Handyman, Mother Jones, Urban Farm, Grit, Reason, and a couple of others I may have missed, plus my local newspaper. Yeah, I feel satisfied that I read the equivalent of at least 100 books a year, if not more.

So maybe I’m not learning as much about how fiction writers write fiction. But I’m sure that my varied interests and all of my learning will somehow reveal themselves in my own fiction, and even though my books may not become NYT bestsellers (although there’s always a chance), at least they will be unique, different, and mine. Stephen King* can read all the fiction he wants, I just can’t do it.

471px-Stephen_King,_Comicon*Before anyone gets the wrong idea, King is one of my all time great idols. And I only have a few all time great idols. He is a hero to me. It is because of my respect for him that his statement in the book bothered me enough that I had to write about it and justify, if only for myself, why I don’t follow in his footsteps in this area.

 

Time marches on.

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WLANL_-_zullie_-_Vanitas,_Adriaan_Coorte_(1).jpg

Loosely written for the Daily Post Weekly Challenge.

I am a child of the 70s, a child of the 80s, and a child of the 90s. I couldn’t get into Pogs, but I was really into Garbage Pail Kids. So much so that I remember dreaming about having stacks and stacks of them, and I was disappointed when I woke up. I had a collection of G.I. Joe guys, the small ones. Not the dolls. I could build a G.I. Joe guy fort all the way along the eastern wall of my bedroom. And they were all on the same team. Clutch, Cobra Commander, Snake Eye. Working together against a common enemy. My fort was so well set up, so well defended, that there was never really a war. Ever.

I couldn’t solve a Rubik’s Cube but I could take the damn thing apart and put it back together in the right order. That’s one way to solve it. Some of my best friends (guys) had Cabbage Patch Kids. I got creative with an Etch-a-Sketch, and earlier, a Lite-Brite. I owned the Venom action figure before I even knew why Spider-man was wearing a black suit. I really wanted a Swatch, but I never got one. I never even asked.

One of the most exciting nights of my life Continue reading “Time marches on.”