Reading is part of writing. Not only is reading a vital aspect toward learning the ins and outs of writing, rewriting, and editing, it is also a method to keep in touch with other writers and the writing world. In addition, reading is also fun. Ask any writer who enjoys their craft and he/she will undoubtedly state that a portion of their daily writing routine includes reading other authors’ works. As Stephen King mentions in his book On Writing, the prime rule for writers is: “Write a lot and read a lot.”
From my writer’s perspective, I read for entertainment. Although I am mindful of other authors’ techniques as I read, that mindfulness is more for validation of my own methods rather than to plagiarize plots and characters, or to mimic other writers’ styles. When I pick up a book and begin reading, I anticipate becoming immersed in the novel’s plot and bonding with its characters. If an author inspires the feeling that I’ve made a new friend with their protagonist, followed by a sense of loss from parting with that character once I conclude the last page, then the writer has performed his/her job well. I’m happy to say that many authors have provided me that satisfaction, some more so than others. I can only hope my work also achieves that goal.
So what types of books are folks reading these days?
Writerswrite.com lists nine primary fiction genres, which are then expanded to include from four to eleven subgenres each. For folks who want ‘Just the facts, ma’am,” non-fiction categories number as high as forty-five. The opportunity for readers to appease their preference in reading material is readily available.
Regarding overall sales, the top five genres are: 1) Romance/Erotica; 2) Crime/Mystery; 3) Religious/Inspirational; 4) Science Fiction/Fantasy; and 5) Horror.
When it comes to format, E-books have become a popular publishing option, especially for people on the go whose desire to lose themselves in a story remains strong. Paperback novels, which come in a variety of sizes, retain their niche, as well. And then there are my favorites–– hardback novels––the real books. For me, there is something about holding a hardbound book in my hands that seems much more gratifying. Something that makes reading and embracing the words contained on every page so much easier.
The task of obtaining books can lead folks toward several doors of opportunity. Of course, Amazon and eBay have practically every author and genre to fulfill most everyone’s reading preference. But let’s not forget the booksellers and libraries whose real doors deserve regular opening. Although these establishments may not be as convenient as logging on and ordering online clad in pajamas from the comfort of home, but their facilities and the people who work within can provide more personalized information and recommendations than either online giant. Similar to holding a hardback novel, there’s a special feeling once a person passes through a bookseller’s or a library’s doorway.
Regardless of the genre, format, or book provider that folks may choose, I sincerely recommend that everyone takes the time to escape the rat races of life, settle into a favorite spot, and read a book for fun and relaxation.
I leave you with a wonderful poem that inspired my thoughts for this week, one that was shared by a fellow Sisters in Crime member. Borrowed from a post issued by the National Library of Scotland, the poem was written by Julia Donaldson and concisely expresses why readers and writers love to read. It also expresses the goal that we fiction writers love to achieve with our readers.
Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.
I Opened a Book
I opened a book and in I strode
Now, nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I’ve opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.
–– Julia Donaldson