Friday, October 4, 2019

Reading And Writing And How They Co-Exist

Multi-tasking is a thing that everyone can do. It’s a thing that most moms excel at. I myself have taught myself to become good at undertaking (and actually finishing) half a dozen or more tasks all at once. But even for me, there are simply some things I can’t do while involved in certain other pursuits.

I can’t watch TV or movies while writing. I can listen to music and write. My kids can watch TV in the same room as I’m in and I can write. But even if it’s a show I’ve watched a hundred times and know line-by-line, I can not write if it’s on.

When I’m in the thick of writing I tend not to read much. Even if I’ve got 45 minutes to kill in the car while I’m waiting for Angel Face’s dance class to be finished, I can’t get in to reading a book when a part of my mind is (as it always is) absorbed with the story I’m crafting. It’s as if my brain becomes locked on the tale I’m writing and puts up this wall of ‘nope’ anytime I try to read.

I’ll fritter away hours of the day scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but reading is practically impossible when a part of me is silently saying “you could be writing!”

The reverse is similar, if not quite the same. When I’ve got a book in my hands that is simply entrancing me, I’ll very rarely stop reading to go and write. I can, and have read as many as 4 different novels at one time – my choice of the moment dependent largely on my location and what may be going on around me. But it’s pretty damn rare that you’ll find me reading one moment and writing the next.

I mean it has happened. But not often.

The past couple months I’ve been writing… a lot. (In the past 6 weeks, I’ve written roughly 80,000 words!!!) So this issue of not reading while immersed in my own writing inevitably came up. After all, while I’m committed to writing, I still have 4 kids to care for and a household to run, and work. That leaves a good number of hours during the day when I simply can not be at my computer (or on another device) writing. And sure, I do spend a portion of that time thinking about what happens next and all the things, but sometimes even my writers brain needs a break from the story. But if I’m unable to lose myself in a book?

Well I’m happy to say that after all these years of this struggle, I’ve finally found a way to “read” during periods of writing, without actually reading.


Okay, yes, this is not a new thing. It’s not a unique or even brilliant idea. But it’s changed things in my daily life dramatically. You can laugh, it’s okay. It is sort of funny.

The thing, for me, about audiobooks is that I can be vastly entertained by the story as I listen to it, but my mind doesn’t latch on to the story in quite the same way as when I’m physically reading it. In a way the audiobook is like the music or TV in the background – I enjoy it but it doesn’t fully distract me from what my mind is focused on. I can satisfy my need to lose myself in another world, without becoming a part of it.

Another bonus? It takes way longer to get through a book while listening to it in audio format than it would if I was reading it myself. So I’m also not bombarding my brain with story-world upon story-world, upon story-world.

So for me, it’s a definite audiobooks for the win!

What about you? Do you listen to audio books?

What are you listening to RIGHT NOW?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Much-Loved and Favoured

I occasionally find myself in a mood that has me turning to the steady greatness of some of my much-loved and favoured authors. For these authors I have many, many, many titles from their book lists gracing my shelves and digital libraries. Some titles I even have in multiple copies – the new release hardcovers, the well-read trades and paperbacks, and, of course, the easily transportable digital e-books. These books are housed – always – on shelves that prominently display the spines in my living room, my office space, in my kitchen and my bedroom. Despite the multitude of their books already owned, when I see a title by one of these authors which I don’t already have, I finagle some way to get it.


Well, 95% of the time.

Sometimes I have to briefly add it to my “purchase wish-list” until the next time I have the money to make the buy.

When I get in to certain moods I’ll storm through books by a specific author the way other women will dig their way through every flavour of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. And no matter how many times I’ve read or re-read a story, during these binge periods of reading I am reminded with every single book why I love the author’s work.

I’m not really sure of exactly what spurred my current headfirst dive into all things Nora Roberts. I suppose it was a combination of things that had my focus narrowing and my vision tunnelling to the exclusion of nearly all else for the past month. Primarily I guess the prod came from the whole #CopyPasteCris plagiarism debacle that is currently a BIG deal in the writing, publishing, and book worlds. I’m not going to go in to the details – if you want to learn more about it all, I recommend you check out Nora’s official blog Fall Into The Story where she has posted a series of really good and informative updates over the past month regarding the situation. Until word of the whole thing broke publicly, I’d never even heard of Cristiane Serruyo. But I’d heard of, read, and loved a good number of the titles and authors that she's purported to have plagiarised. (From my personal p.o.v., I think there is more than enough evidence to prove to even the most skeptical that the accusations are fact.)

So maybe it was anger, of a certain form, that plunged me into my current backlist re-read.

I actually managed to do some of that finagling I mentioned earlier to get myself digital copies of all The Stanislaskis: Those Wild Ukrainians series books as well as the books in The Stars of Mithra trilogy, and the books Three Fates and Public Secrets. All of which were personal previously unread Nora creations and all of which I absolutely loved. In the reading mix as well have been some of the newer NR releases, The Liar and The Obsession to name a couple.

One thing that I find so interesting is seeing the way Nora’s writing has adapted to the changing cultural, societal, and technological norms of the times. It’s intriguing to read a story that was published decades ago, for example Secret Star: Stars of Mithra #3 published in 1997, complete with it’s main characters’ reliance on his pager and fax machine, and imagine the story within today’s framework of technology. Would those technological advancements change the course the story would take in it’s telling? Or how about the reverse? Take the story in The Liar back 20 or 30 years and it’s possible that the whole truth within the dastardly tale never would have been revealed. 

I just finished (re)reading Genuine Lies and I continue to be fascinated by the glitz and glamour of Eve Benedict’s life through the decades, enchanted by the understated, but budding and building romance between Julia and Paul, and I am, as always, intrigued by the mystery and the twists as-yet-unrevealed. I’ve read the story several times before and still, every time is like the first and I’m never disappointed; and each time I re-read a story I find something new, something wonderful. 

In the past month I’ve read just about 20 Nora Roberts books – a fair number of them are even ones that I’ve never read before – and I’m still not ready to veer away from this course quite yet. Yesterday I scrolled through the list of Roberts’ titles I could get my hands on through my local library’s digital access license… Happily I now have 7 more of those personal previously unread NR stories waiting on my digital shelf to entrance me, with a couple more on hold and headed my way shortly. If I love them as much as I have all her other works, I imagine my purchase wish-list is about to grow even longer!

Nora Roberts is just one of my ‘much-loved and favoured authors.’ There are others and if you’ve followed this blog in the past, or follow my Facebook Page, chances are you’ll know who some of the others are. But what of yours?

Who are the authors who’s books you are inspired you to read, re-read, and read again? Which authors do you have extensive library space devoted to?

If you had to pick an absolute favourite, who would it be? 

*book covers were curated from Nora's official website, or from Goodreads

**If you'd like to discover the full list of books published by Nora Roberts, I recommend her website as an excellent place to start!