Twelve books a year doesn’t trouble me anymore, but it did at the time. I found myself floundering beneath the burden of various competing obligations, some mandatory, some discretionary, and that reading, my oldest pastime, had fallen far by the wayside.
Renowned horror/supernatural/spec fic author Stephen King famously claimed the following:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
He’s right in more ways than one. The tools that reading has to offer are numerous.
I haven’t done nearly enough reading this year.
I started 2018 off strong, with my previous Recent Reads post from January to March including four completed books.
(Well technically, three books and one novella, but one of those books was a reference for the next historical fiction novel I plan to write. Reading that required highlighting and note-taking that slowed me down considerably, and perhaps balances out the novella’s shorter length.)
As I discussed in a previous blog post, I review every book that I read on Goodreads.
I do this in my dual roles of both writer and reader, the former to help my fellow writers try to generate book sales, and the latter because I just enjoy sharing my opinions about what I’m reading.
I review every book that I read on Goodreads.
I do this because I’m a writer with aspirations of future publication and strong book sales.
I’m aware of how crucial reviews are to authors, both in helping produce those strong sales and in enabling one to (traditionally) publish subsequent books.
Books I’ve stolen borrowed from others (and haven’t even read yet)
I almost never lend people books. But I have no problem borrowing those that belong to others.
I fully acknowledge the hypocrisy, and perhaps even level of selfishness, that applies to this policy of mine.
I’m not even a particularly good borrower of other people’s books. Or rather, good returner of them, I should say.
That is to say, about those who are subject matter experts on different forms of marginalization in society, who writers can recruit to help them bring verisimilitude to the portrayal of marginalized characters in fiction.
The use of sensitivity readers is a growing trend in fiction as more and more stories about marginalized characters are being published – particularly since more and more of these sorts of stories are being written by writers who themselves are not marginalized.
Fiction writers have always employed the advice and experiences of subject-matter experts to help bring authenticity to their stories.
Sensitivity readers, as it happens, are subject-matter experts on experiences with different types of marginalization in mainstream society.
The historical fiction shelf you won’t find in most bookstores and libraries
The problem with historical fiction is that it’s not actually genre.
Not the way romance or mystery or thriller are genres.
There are no defining characteristics – no genre conventions – of historical fiction other than the story taking place in a non-contemporary time period in which the manners, social conditions, and other details of the era are clearly depicted.
Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek: Into Darkness, playing the role of an important non-white character from the Star Trek universe
I’ve always had a fondness for stories about female warriors.
Among my favourites is Hua Mulan, the legendary subject of an Ancient Chinese epic poem about a young woman takes her aged father’s place in the military by disguising herself as a boy.
In the 1998 Disney cartoon, Mulan, she is shown exhibit bravery, ingenuity, and honour, and succeeds in helping save China from invaders.