As writers we are told to read, read, read. Most, if not all of us, do this very naturally and devour, gobble-up, demolish or consume books all the time. Most of us invariably have a book on the go. And as writers of genre fiction we are advised (although again we do so naturally) to read however much we can in our chosen genre.
Chances are that if you read a typical genre most of the time, then you’ll probably be naturally deposed to write that type of fiction.
My, I write historical fiction, and my main genre that I enjoy to read is, not surprise, historical fiction. The period doesn’t bother me, from the Ancient Romans, to the Tudors, to the Ming Dynasty, I’ll happily devour any of it.
But every now and then I do read a fantasy novel, with the odd classic or ‘must-read’ thrown in for good measure.
But every now and then, my brain seems to itch for something that little bit different. Whether it’ll be a popular science book (science does fascinate me and while I understand bits of it, science is most certainly not my forte)… or sci-fi.
I do write the occasional review for the magazine newbooks magazine, requesting, reading and uploading my reviews to the online version of the magazine. As part of this I have recently been sent and read a poetry book. Now I said that science wasn’t my forte, well then poetry certainly isn’t. I don’t pretend to be a poet, to read it (that often), or even understand most of it. But as I’ve said, I think to venture outside my particular genre and see what’s out there, is necessary (to me) and important and a creative breath of fresh air. You never know what you might find or enjoy. You may be inspired or you may never think about it again.
But all reading it vitally important if you’re a writer. And inspiring (and realised) writers all are told to read, read, read…..
And so every now and again I put down my usual genre and go for something a bit different.
And now for something completely different (to borrow a phrase from the Monty Python boys)…
Marina Tsvetaeva’s Phaedra with New year’s Letter and other long poems. Translated by Angela Livingstone.