Do You Read Widely?

I was reflecting upon my own reading list this morning and was thinking about just how narrow some of my reading could often be. I tend to go through the back lists of my favourite authors and therefore stick to the types of books that I am used to and generally give me pleasure.

A bookshelf that is diverse is always fascinating to discover.

But then I thought about some of the very different books that I have read this year. Some non-fiction, fantasy and even romantic ones that don’t normally crop up in my reading have satisfied me as much as any contemporary family drama.

Just for fun I have come up with some questions to enable us all to reflect upon our reading habits. I will put my own answers under every question and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

1) When was the last time you tried a book by a new author (an author whose books you had never read before)?

Today. I had a book sample in my Apple Books and decided to try it and then persuaded myself to buy the full ebook. It is called ‘The Dragon of Ynes’ and was recently recommended in another blog review that I read. It has LGBT aspects to its storyline and already I am loving it.

2) Have you read any non-fiction books this year?

Having just bought Matt Haig’s ‘The Comfort Book’ I am definitely going to soon. I also read a couple of biographies by Julie Andrews and Mindy Kaling, amongst others.

3) Have you read outside of your comfort zone lately?

‘The Order of the Day’ was a historical short book and definitely new territory for me as a reader. Written about the German invasion of Austria and various events that led to the Second World War, it was interesting but also scary. Scary in the sense that it illustrated just how easily people were fooled by Hitler in the early days.

4) When did you last try an Indie writer’s book?

Being an indie author myself, I try hard to often buy and read books by fellow indie writers. A couple of months ago I read ‘Crossings’ by Elizabeth Thomas which was a compelling collection of short stories. I also read the marvellous, ‘The Vintage Bookshop of Memories’ by Elizabeth Holland.

5) Do you read books written by authors from other countries?

This one is easy for me as I love so many American and Australian authors. My go-to Australian writing legend is Liane Moriarty and I am regularly pleased by the works of such writers as Celeste Ng, Becky Albertalli, John Green and David Levithan.

You will notice that I included a picture of Jane Austin books as recently I overheard someone talking about having read them all. I hope that I have become more of a varied reader than I used to be, but I will always read novels by my favourites, such as Matt Haig, Joanne Harris and Liane Moriarty. Click here for a post about some of their books that I enjoyed recently.

If you enjoyed this article perhaps you will consider popping a comment down below and even following my blog for similar content in future.

Blurred Skies

The rain is again falling,

Mixing up most of May.

The summer is coming,

With a much different sway.

As Earth’s climates change,

The weather is less sweet.

Can’t distinguish the seasons,

They don’t present quite so sweet.

Blurring the lines

And gathering new storms,

Making me wonder

What future it dawns.

Give us a chance to refresh out mindset,

Not live with this impact,

With nothing but regret.

Let’s change how we do things,

And consider how we move,

Take trains, buses or bicycles,

And get into a new groove.

Help build us a future

Of conservation and bliss,

We can forge a new attitude,

No longer taking the…..

Writing in Person

A lot of people ask me about writing in the first person and third person. I particularly like when chapters are written from different character’s perspectives but this does not necessarily mean in the first person. I wanted to quickly talk about three different ways of producing narrative that can have slightly different impacts on the readers.

1) The third person.

This old chestnut is used widely and definitely has its place in traditional fiction. There are many novels and short stories that work particularly well when the author is far removed from the action and can observe everything the characters are doing. I call this ‘helicopter mode’ as the writer is remote and can move between locations rapidly, jumping from one event to another without having the limitation of only seeing what the protagonist can see with their own eyes. Harry Potter is written using the third person narrative style.

2) The first person.

I have written a book entirely through the eyes of one character and this can be incredibly effective as any reader can feel like they are inside that character’s mind, going through the plot points and experiencing emotions with that individual. It feels generally more biographical and can be a brilliant way to engage an audience but it has limitations. Unless the main character decides to detail everything the other characters do, you may not always know what else is going on, without having those events seen through one pair of eyes and from one point of view. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is told by one person using a series of letters that he writes. It is a superb book with a clear voice and strong storyline.

There is another way of using the first person comfortably. Each chapter can be told by a different character. In some such stories, often the chapters bounced from one person to another, with extra characters added in at crucial points in the books. Joanne Harris often uses multiple first person chapters to great effect.

3) The third person close.

This intriguing style is used as a compromise between the first and third person and allows the reader to cosy up to a character for a while but does allow the author to flip between characters when needed. You are not inside anybody’s head when you read such stories but the narrative indicates thoughts and feelings. Liane Moriarty used this well in Nine Perfect Strangers where she wrote a chapter about each character but did not use ‘I, we, my’ pronouns. Instead she mentioned in great detail what each person did and thought.

Example: Max had no idea what she was talking about but he nodded generously, ignoring her fowl breath and counting down the seconds until he could get away from her.