Recently, a reader named RandomZ asked about my favourite authors and my response turned into a short hand history of my reading habits.
The last book I read was War, by Sebastian Junger. I haven't seen the documentary that accompanies this book, RestRepo, but I really have to. It's one of the few books this year that wasn't handed to me by someone or recommended to me by a book store clerk. What did I think? Junger was imbedded for the better part of a year with US troops in Afghanistan and he managed to convey more than detail. There were moments where I felt like I was there, and it reminded me of a kind of camaraderie that forms when everyone shares a traumatic period of time in their lives. Did I learn anything that I applied to my own writing? In all honesty, it reinforced some of the character work I'm doing in Spinward Fringe, and led to me re-examining some of the coping mechanisms those imaginary people use. As a result, some of what I had cut from Broadcast 6 was put back in without adjustment.
I'm half way through The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet and next up will be Untamed Time by Susan Plunkett. I read every genre in fiction, and several non-fiction genres. My favourite authors are mostly people I know, like Elizabeth C Mock who just put out a fantastic book I got to preview called Shatter.
When I first started writing long fiction about 18 years ago, I read a lot of Tom Robbins, Clive Barker, Khalil Gibran and second hand university history books. As a kid I loved going through really old encyclopedias (our library had a set from the 40's), and find things that were incorrect using the newest set, which wasn't really that new. Most of the other kids were busy watching Mary Poppins, or listening to an adult read to them. That lasted until I discovered the Occult section. Mom and Dad didn't send me back to the library on Sundays anymore after that...
These days I walk into bookstores and let the clerks pick a book from 3 random genres. It helps that I can go through an average book in an afternoon.
Right, enough procrastination! Back to work on Broadcast 7.