Welcome to my life in books, my experiences reading and writing, and explorations of resources for readers and writers. I enjoy reading thoughtful responses to what others read, so I’m writing about my own experiences with books. I view writing and reading as related facets of a much larger creative life. I want to curate lists of resources that support a creative life.
What types of books will you find discussed here?
I’m a promiscuous reader, dipping into many genres, both fiction and nonfiction. Please don’t ask my favorite book or author. I couldn’t answer!
I have a passion for Virginia Woolf, ghost stories, nature writing, and memoir. Give me Shirley Jackson, Simone St. James, Robert Macfarlane, Patricia Briggs, J. R. R. Tolkien, Mary Oliver. (I already feel that sampling is far too limited.) I also love reading about writers and other creatives honing their craft or building a creative life. I love magical realism, books that defy genres, old books, new books…oh, I could go on.
That’s part of what this blog is about.
What do I mean by the reading experience?
I mean more than a short opinion of a book as presented in a traditional book review. Spoilers ahead! When we read we do so not as the “perfect reader” that was envisioned by a publisher. We bring our scars, our histories, our lives with us to the page.
What we read will never be the exact intention of the author. It can’t be. This is why revisiting books at different times in our lives provides new experiences, maybe even new personal insights. It’s okay to change your opinion. It’s certainly okay to not finish a book.
I believe in the magic of browsing, books arriving in your life at just the right time, synchronicities, and creative meaning building. But I also know book marketing, genre decisions, and point of sale inform that magic experience of finding your next book. Those publisher choices, made months before readers ever see or open the book, influence our selections and our reading experience. I like to think about this stuff.
It’s useful for writers to consider how readers interact with books, how they experience a story, and why they choose a book. But, as a writer, I find market-driven work to be the hardest because it takes me out of my creative process.
Don’t focus on the finished product. It’s easy to find resources telling you how to write the next best-selling novel. Maybe you just need to hear that it is perfectly okay to not write the next best-selling novel.
Consider your own reading experiences. Are you writing because you want a certain reading experience for yourself? Do you know why you write? Exploring the why might be critical for your process.
Reading is also a creative act. What we read can change our perspective. Maybe we read to escape. But have you ever stayed awake at night mulling over something you’ve read? You didn’t quite escape that reading.
When you read a story, you drink down a brew of the writer’s words, your imagination, and your personal history. What ends up in your mind is never exactly the same as what anyone else reads.
Book clubs and discussion groups exist for this very reason. If we all agreed, there’d be nothing to talk about. Plus, readers’ advisory resources can help you find your next book, supporting that creative habit.
Who am I?
I can’t shake the urge to learn and talk about what I learn. I went to college for English and creative writing, then got another degree to work in libraries. I want to be around books, talk about storytelling, and how we learn about ourselves through stories.
You can read more about me here.
Oh, and I love a good quote…
Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process.Elizabeth Gilbert