Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Many Mistresses of My Nightstand #2--April 2009

Just a reminder from last month:

Reading (and reading widely, both within your genre and without) is crucial for writers, helping them to develop basic skills and to craft a personal style of writing.

In this thread, I include titles I have been reading throughout the month, from most recent backwards. Feel free to post yours in the comment section. Be sure to warn us if you were not satisfied with a particular read.

To make it easy for readers to check out your recommendations, please include a live, clickable link with your comment [Amazon links are great, because the provide both reviews and a means of purchase]. There are two ways to add a link: first, you can compose your comment as a new blog post, add the links in the usual way, then copy it, HTML and all, into the comments section here; or you can write it yourself like this:

[a href=""]write title of book here[/a]

Don't forget to change the web address and name the title of the book. Then replace those two pairs of square brackets [] with pointy ones <>, or the link won't work.

Here is my rather large feast from April 2009:
Okay. Only 8 of the 12 books I read this month are middle-grade novel length or longer (5 MG/YA fiction and 2 adult fiction); the remaining selections include one audio book (which I 'read'--listened to--in the car on the way to work) and three picture books.

I purposefully included a sample of the market research I have been doing within my genre (children's picture books). Each of the three I listed above stood out of the crowd of other PB titles I read this month. Reading within my genre allows me to objectively pinpoint what works (and what doesn't work) and helps me to tailor my own style of picture book writing. Don't neglect market research. It can be a valuable exercise to propel your writing to the next level.

So now that I've shared, what have you read this month?


Valerie Storey said...

1. The Bhagavad Gita According to Paramhansa Yogananda by Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda. For years I had wanted to read an accessible version of the Gita. This was it. Beautiful and simple, I will reread it many times.
2. Poems of Ahkmatova by Anna Ahkmatova, translated by Stanley Kunitz. Ahkmatova was a brilliant Russian poet who chose to stay in her country rather than flee as a refugee when the Revolution took everything she loved away. The selected poems are a testament to her suffering and determination to find meaning in the present moment.
3. The Poet’s Handbook by Judson Jerome. I am still reading this the book and find it a refreshing, invaluable and practical approach to the technical aspects of writing poetry.
4. The Daily Writer I just bought this last week and already I’m hooked. Each page is a daily meditation and exercise to keep that pen moving!
5. A Spell of Winter I admit I was bored by the middle of this book. Oops! That said, I loved the writing voice and style, loved the theme, and the ending was knock-out terrific. But I’m at the point in my life now that I no longer have a guilty conscience if I “skip the boring parts”. And yes, I do take that very seriously when it comes to my own writing: if I think a scene or chapter is boring to write and edit, then that’s a sure sign my readers won’t have the patience to read it either!
Thanks, Sarah, this was a fun thing to do.

C.R. Evers said...

sorry about the non links. I'm just pressed for time. But from April til now I've read:

Sing Down the Moon, by Scott O'Dell

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

Restless, by Rich Wallace

The Eyes of Kid Midas, by Neal Shusterman

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

All great books. I'd rec. them all