October 2005

I’m always astonished when I hear a writer say she can’t read when she’s writing. Not read? I think. That would be as impossible as holding my breath the whole time I was working on a manuscript!

I get withdrawal if there’s not a book within an arm’s reach. I’ve been known to take a book to Weight Watchers, when I’m mall walking, to a hockey game. If I’m nearing the end of one book, and don’t want to carry two around with me, I’ll take the next book in my TBR pile to the doctor’s office or hair salon. What would I do if I finished a book while I was there and had nothing else to read?

Yes, I know, I’ve got it bad. Bet you do, too.

That’s why I decided to start this page on my website. I thought you might be interested in what a writer reads. And I’d be interested to hear what my readers are reading. Besides my books, of course.

I read a lot on my own, for research. For A SIMPLE GIFT (Fall 2006) I read and was captivated by Timothy Ferris’s terrific book on Astronomy, SEEING IN THE DARK: HOW BACKYARD STARGAZERS ARE PROBING DEEP SPACE AND GUARDING THE EARTH FROM INTERPLANETARY PERIL. Not being a math and science wiz, I appreciated that he put complex science into laywoman’s terms. I also loved that he was able to convey the wonder of the cosmos and drew such compelling portraits of the people involved in Astronomy as amateurs. It sent me out into the backyard with a star chart more than once while I was working out my hero Mike’s character, and how he and his daughter Fiona bond through their love of astronomy.

I read for my bi-monthly book club, the River-City Readers. The book club’s last book was THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson. It’s non-fiction but is wonderfully well-written and reads like a novel. (High praise coming from me.) It tells the story of the Chicago’s 1898 World’s Fair from the point of view Daniel Burnam, the architect who directed the planning and building of the White City, the spectacular fair site. It also tells of the amazingly dastardly deeds of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who finds his victims among the unsuspecting fair-goers. Engrossing.

I also just finished Andrea Kane’s fine thriller, THE SCENT OF DANGER. Edie Hudgins, a friend who owns The Bookshelf in Conyers, GA recommended it to me. I was caught up from the moment perfume tycoon Carson Brooks was shot. I was dragged deeper into the story when the wounded Carson discovers he has a daughter he never knew he had: a daughter he calls on to save his business, and ultimately give her new-found father a kidney when his own begin to fail.

My latest read is my book club’s new selection, THE BIRTH OF VENUS by Sarah Dunant. I am not far enough into it yet to have formed an opinion, but it’s historical fiction in a time period (Florence, Italy in the 1400’s) I don’t know much about, but think I’m going to like. I keep seeing Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet in my head as I read her descriptions.

I’m always interested in your takes on what I’m reading, or in recommendations, if you have them. You can email me through the homepage of this website.

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