Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why have I lost my blogging spark?

I used to love blogging...
Somewhere along the way, I lost my spark, lost my verve for the blogworld. And I think I know why. I'm not just a writer, but a reader, and I used to talk about books. A lot. Remember? #1 Ladies Detective Agency, Middlesex, anything by Eve Silver... and this past year, I've basically stopped reading.
(anything less than 3 books/month is a very dry spell)

Not altogether stopped... just stopped reading the kind of books I used to be drawn to. Nothing against Stephenie Meyer or JR Ward, but I haven't had a fix of Harlen Coben, Ridley Pearson, Minette Walters, Dennis Lehane, Sarah Dunant, etc. in ages.
I have an Ondaatje on my night stand with an in-tact spine and a thick layer of dust. Heck, I've got a Nelson DeMille HARDCOVER sitting under the tv remote and I've not even read the jacket blurb. So not like me...

This happened for a couple of reasons (I think)
  • My TBR pile is so big I'm scared of it. Yes. True. Totally intimidated. What if I pick the wrong book??
  • I have very prolific friends. I LOVE reading what my friends write, not just because I want to be supportive, but because I really like their stuff. But trying to keep up with them... omg, it just is impossible AND to maintain my own writing. I'm behind on my Kimber Chin, my Christine d'Abo's, waaay behind on my Amy Ruttan's and my JK Coi's, Molly O'Keefe's, and and and... the Toronto Romance Writers are too successful for my own good.
  • I have a hard time reading romance and writing romance (clouds my brain, my storyline and I lose the character voices in my head).
  • I've been watching more television - eek. Mindless drivel stuff that I shouldn't even bother with, but I feel like I have to keep my brain cells relatively uncluttered because my own novel has all these threads and bits I need to hang on to.

The solution for my blogging woes? READ MORE.
Sounds easy but sadly, I must stay away from the genres/sub-genres I dabble in (just while I'm finishing my novel - not forever!)
I think I'll turn to literary... or maybe CLASSICS!! Yes, I'm sure there are tons of classics I've never read. Like Austen. I have NEVER read an Austen (insert gasp). I know... I hate myself.

My immediate 'to read' list includes:
  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by GGM (just started)
  2. Divisidero by Ondaatje
  3. As the Crow Flies by Ann Marie MacDonald
  4. *Pride and Predjudice (Amy's suggestion)
  5. *Emma (Amy's suggestion)
  6. *Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery (M.)
  7. *Possession by A.S. Byatt (TL)
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. The Gatehouse by Nelson DeMille (saving this one 'til last)
The floor is hereby open for suggestions. Please help me fill in my spring/summer reading list.


Amy Ruttan said...

Read Persuasion or Emma by Jane Austen, very light to ease you back in.

Read Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden or James and the Giant Peach.

Read Dracula by Bram Stoker, or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Read The Chrysalids by John Wyndham or Stranger in a Strange Land by Road Dahl.

Or for gusto read the LOTR trilogy.

Also read some Mary Stewart, This Rough Magic or Thornyhold, both excellent.

All books I have read.

Wylie Kinson said...

Excellent suggestions, Amy. Thanks.
I've already read most of these, (except for Dahl - he kinda squicks me out for reasons I can't put my finger on...) but I'll tackle the Austen's for sure. So Emma?? Or P&P?? I've seen the movie versions (loved Emma!!) and know I like, so these *should* be no-brainers. Right?? LOL
And I don't know of Mary Stewart. I shall look her up.

Amy Ruttan said...

Sorry not Roald Dahl, Strange in a Strange Land Robert Heinlien.

M. said...

I hear you.

I've meant to start 'Book of Negroes' by Lawrence Hill for over a week now, but I leave reading for right before sleep when my brain can't work on the MS anymore - and then I usually feel like a I need something that won't force me to be alert for all kinds of subtext.

I see you have 'As the Crow Flies' on your list - I'll be fascinated to hear what you think.

'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel - the single recommendation I give if I am allowed only one.
'Blue Castle' Lucy Maud Montgomery. My favorite title of hers, not YA.
'Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver. Dense and fascinating and the difficult bits are not so bad that they follow you in your sleep, if that makes any sense (I need to be a little bit careful about what I read because of this - couldn't face 'Kiterunner' for example).

Thomma Lyn said...

I hear ya on the blogging spark. Just so much to do on so many fronts, blogging gets pushed aside, though I continue to scrabble to keep it up! :)

Here are my recommendations -- these aren't classics, but they're darned good reads:

Anything by Haruki Murakami -- I've become a huge fan. Recent reads are Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth -- huge book, but wonderful -- a book you can get lost in.

Possession by A.S. Byatt.

Contact by Carl Sagan.

Anything by Amy Tan -- excellent women's fiction. Right now, I'm reading The Hundred Secret Senses.

Anything by Sherman Alexie. He's fab. :) Perhaps start with Reservation Blues.

Now, to classics:

Anything by Flannery O'Connor.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

Leah Braemel said...

Amy stole most of my suggestions for reading.

If you're into sci-fi, try Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End.

An old fashioned romance - Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel. How about Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers or Count of Monte Cristo?

I downloaded a ton of classics onto my Sony Reader as you get 100 free with your purchase. I haven't read any I downloaded yet. (I have read the ones I suggested above though.)

But I'm like you, I find it tough to read in the genre I'm writing in otherwise I get too frustrated that I'm too unoriginal.

(And by the way, as for being blogged out? Have you noticed I haven't blogged in two days? I have nothing to say that I think anyone would be interested in, so I completely here you on that. And while I have done a ton of reading lately, I don't feel qualified to give a good review. Weird for a writer to admit, but true.)

Ann said...

Hey, If you do want to read a Roald Dahl, I'd suggest Matilda (I saw the movie first and then read the book- both I thought were very good). Another suggestion would be Sense & Sensibility by Austen (I saw the movie first- Emma Thompson did an amazing job with the screenplay and won the oscar for it). As for Kinsolver, try Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- it's a fascinating look at eating locally and eating only foods actually in season.
Happy reading. :)

Bonnie Staring said...

Oh Wylie, I feel your pain! My TBR pile also has me verra verra afraid.

So I'll add a classic and a chicklit to your list:
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Devil Wears Prada

Wylie Kinson said...

Hiya Bonnie! I've actually read both TKaM and DWP. Loved 'em both, for different reasons. ;)

Hi Ann - I adored S&S, the Emma version, and perhaps will read when I've tackled Emma and P&P. I've already read Kinsolver - especially enjoyed Poisonwood Bible.

Wylie Kinson said...

M. - thanks so much for weighing in. I've already read Kinsolver -- 3 of them. I'm horrible at remembering titles, but one of them was in the mountains of Tennessee and I thought of Thomma Lyn the whole time!
And I'm the only person I know who didn't/couldn't get into The Life of Pi. EVERYONE that I know loved. I couldn't get past page 50. Just didn't do it for me. *shrugs*

Wylie Kinson said...

M - forgot to add, I'll have to check the library for the LMM book you suggested. Thanks!

Wylie Kinson said...

TL - thanks! I'll have to print out this list and see what I can find at the library. I've always wanted to read Possession,... then made the mistake of seeing the movie and it sucked the desire out of me.
Love Amy Tan - have read EVERYTHING by her. :)

Wylie Kinson said...

Leah - some good suggestions in there, for sure!
I read 3 Musk's and C of MC - and though I enjoyed them... didn't find them 'smooth' reading. Does that make sense? I often wonder if things get lost in translation... I remember not enjoying Flaubert for the same reason. Hmmm... Or maybe Mdm Bovary just wasn't my cuppa.

Yes - I noticed your blogs weren't as regular as in the past. Between writing, blogging, fb'ing and tweeting, it's hard to keep up with it all!!

Wylie Kinson said...

Thanks everyone, for your suggestions! I'm keeping this list, shall see what the library has to offer, read some blurbs and fill in the last two spots :)

Anonymous said...

As much as I love the blog world, I think we put too much pressure on ourselves because of it. I know some people can read a 100 books a year, but I can't. Even if I could, I'd get nothing out of it.

Right now I'm reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It had been collecting dust for a while now. I am so glad I finally started it. The atmosphere (Nigeria) reminds me of the #1 Ladies Detective Club.

As far as clasics, try The Painted Veil or Rebecca.

M. said...

Returned to backseat drive your list - last night, opened 'Book of Negroes' with much trepidation, and next time I looked up it was a hundred pages later. Fantastically good, even though I was worried about realities. They are there, but the author is so skillful at sharing it with the reader in a way that is not unbearable, and was so smart about opening the story with the heroine in her old age, still mentally and emotionally sound and in a place of aceeptable-level physical comfort and social respect, that it is very reassuring.

Please consider it!

J.K. Coi said...

Oh, some great book suggestions. How about The Road--Cormac McCarthy

Wylie Kinson said...

M. - I will, thanks!!

JK - y'know... The Road is on hubby's night table and he keeps falling asleep while reading it. That doesn't bode well!! What did you think of it?

J.K. Coi said...

Well, I have it on my table too..just haven't gotten to it yet. I guess we'll both have to wait and see :)

Julia Smith said...

Can't give you too many suggestions reading-wise, but I sympathize with your prolific writing friends problem! I have that same distress...

To get back into a non-romance-genre groove, I took up a reading challenge and I'm currently reading 'March' by Geraldine Brooks. Really enjoying it!

Thomma Lyn said...

Re: The Road, I thought it was a wonderful read. Dark and heart-wrenching, but wonderful.