Tag Archives: library

My Life as a Reader

31 Jan

I remember my mother telling me when I was about seven, “You can read any book in this house.”

The books in our house were my dad’s history and science related books from Book of the Month Club, and my mom’s books about having and raising children and lives of saints and other holy people.

I read them all. I remember reading in one of the child related books about missing periods when a woman was pregnant, and wondering what the heck that meant, but I didn’t ask. On my dad’s side, I read Kon-Tiki and studied the descriptions of plants and animals in a nature encyclopedia.

An incident in second grade illustrates my devotion to reading. There was a small library in the back of the classroom. I had found a book that contained a story of a trio of girls who had a treehouse. I loved the story so much, I continued to read it during music class, holding the book beneath my desk. And of course my teacher, Sister Mary Siena, caught me and took the book away. Busted. In front of the entire class. But I wanted to read the book! A treehouse! Think about it! At the end of the school day, I took the book from the shelf again and brazenly approached the teacher. “May I check this book out and take it home to read?” She replied, “Do you think I should let you?” The book! The book! “Yes,” I answered. I checked it out. It was all worth it. I still love treehouses. And books.

Fast forward many years later, as a parent and a teacher. “Read what you want to read. Just read. Think.”

It’s all worth it.

Newest generation picking out a book.

Browsing for a good book.

 

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How much do writers read?

14 Apr

I was a guest author on a mystery panel at a local library last week, and we were asked the question: How much do you read while you are writing a book,and do you worry that what you are reading will influence your writing?

I read constantly. I read before I go to sleep, while I eat lunch, in doctors’ waiting rooms, while I brush my teeth (yes, I really do), and other odd moments throughout the day. And with the things that happen in my life, I have quite a few really odd moments.

But I don’t worry that what I read will influence what I write in more than the most subtle ways. I learn from my reading, and am constantly motivated to write better because of what I read.

I don’t understand people who say they don’t have time to read. For me, reading is like breathing. Would I not have time to breathe? If I didn’t read, how would I know how to write?