Read to write …

You remember those days you sat on your front porch or what we called in Brooklyn, the “stoop?”  The stoop for those of you who are unschooled in Brooklyn-ese … are a number of concrete steps leading to the front door of a house. Some of them were enclosed in ornate wrought-iron and a rarefied few even had a square patch of soil.

You might have stayed up late in your room, flashlight under blankets. Maybe you sat in the backyard alone or hid in a corner of your kitchen. During school hours I hid them behind text books, they got wet and dirty while I carried them to the park or sat on the beach.

It doesn’t matter where it was … if you were one of us … you read. I read standing up on smelly city buses or as a “strap-hanger” on subways. Often I would do my homework on the bus or subway so I could use my precious few hours at night to read.

I read as the radio played in the background or while curled up in a corner of the room as everyone else watched television.

It is in my blood from my father and middle brother, from countless “nerd” friends and from the most precious of all … the librarians in every school library. In my first job I was surrounded by books when I worked as a shelving clerk in our local library.

As writers, we read to write. They are the necessary partners of each other and more than a glove in a hand, they are the fingers of the hand. We can’t write unless we read.

In the four years since I made the decision to become a full-time writer, I have slowed down in my reading. My TBR pile has grown to unmentionable proportions and is threatening to crash down on my head.

An idea came to me when I began the plan to change my format and posting schedule. I am going to add a new feature, Read To Write. I will review some of my latest great finds and collect them in another page above the Brooklyn Bridge.

My preference in reading? 

I am partial to 20th Century Modern Classics and because of a member of our monthly book club, I will once more venture into the varied selections of 19th Century Classics.

Mysteries have been for me what chocolate is to many, a comfort, and a sinful treat I gobble with glee. I adore the fast pace of the thriller, and detective or cop novels. Some of my current favorite authors include   James Patterson, Nelson Demille, Harlan Coben or my forensic favorites, Kathy Reichs (Bones) and Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli and Isles.)

I also follow a half-dozen mystery series, like Lucas Davenport from John Sanford, Eve Dallas and Rourke from JD Robb (Nora Roberts) and two mystery series set in Victorian times by Anne Perry, with a preference to her Monk series.

Women’s Fiction and romance continue to be a great reads. The newer romance novels of my peers, everything by Nora Roberts and all romance between, including some crazy chick lit and romantic comedies. I get belly laughs from Janet Evanovitch and Jenny Crusie. The journey of Ellen Meister and The Other Life, and the sad tales of Jodi Picoult.

The genre that captured my son’s heart in grade school … Fantasy Fiction … is not a genre where I am well read. My challenge will finally cure me of this deficit. What I have read is the first of the Chronicles of Narnia and all seven Harry Potter books. Finally, I will read the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings  and a list by Terry Brooks and Peers Anthony to name two more.

In order for me to do justice to a genre, I like go back before I go forward, therefore, I will save most new fantasy writers and young adult fantasy writers for next year.

I love biographies and memoirs and have added two to this year’s list. Both celebrities and both my heroines … Carol Burnett and Shirley Maclaine.

To wet your appetite, I give you my short list for the next few weeks:

*** Shelter, by Harlan Coben
*** The Other Life, Ellen Meister
*** (Long over-due) The Help, Kathryn Stockett
*** This Time Together, Carol Burnett
*** Entangled, An Paranormal Anthology to help raise awareness and much-needed funds for breast cancer.
*** State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
*** Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
*** The Time Machine, H. G. Wells

The first of my book reviews will be posted later this month, Shelter, by Harlan Coben. Once a review is posted, I will add it to my series page Read To Write for future reference.

Along with the comments, I would be happy to read about your favorite books. I hope you enjoy reading about the books I Read To Write.

This will be fun folks! Onwards we go into the pages of fact and or fiction.

What great books have you read recently?

Do you explore different genres or do you prefer to concentrate on your favorite? 

fOIS In The City

Reading is Fun Poster


Filed under Random Thoughts

12 responses to “Read to write …

  1. Florence, I adore this idea. I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and it was amazing. Two other favorite books are Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson and Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas by Barbara Samuel. I would love to write books like these authors but alas, I’m more snark and fluff and write fun humorous fiction. 🙂

    With the purchase of my Kindle early this year, I’ve read a lot of books by indie authors. I’ve discovered romantic comedy by Elizabeth Ann West, Tonya Knappes, and DD Scott. For women’s fiction, I’ve just finished reading Dianne Venetta’s Jennifer’s Garden and am about to start in on one of Christy Hayes books. For suspense, I love Ann Voss Peterson. And a new series of novellas called Bandit Creek books has captured my attention.

    Great topic. I’m looking forward to your series of blogs on what you’re reading.


    • Thanks so much, Sheila. Part of my enthusiam about this new feature is reading about what other writers … read to write.

      Appreciate you reading selections and I too look forward to how this will unfold 🙂


  2. This is a fantastic move for your blog, Florence. All writers need to read, but it’s amazing how it does take a back seat when we’re trying to push books out to deadlines. So this is the perfect time to immerse yourself in books–before the big crunch of publication takes over your life. Plus you’ll give us insight into books we might like to revisit, or need to get higher on our TBR list.


    • Thanks, Anne. In the writing process I think we all slow down on our reading. I always miss it and tend to go through periods when I read two or three books in a row and then slow down. I do my reading first thing or last thing and reserve the middle or wee hours to the writing. Let’s hope I get immersed soon 🙂


  3. This is great. I will look forward to finding out what good books you have read. I’ve been reading alot the past couple of months, because I went so long with not reading and I LOVE to read. But, alas, I need to write to and sometimes reading gets pushed to the bottom of the list.


    • Yes, Lara … I think our writing schedule is always in competition with our desires to read. I also do it on an irregular basis, but in the end, I think I need to fine the time. This is a good time for me 🙂

      Hope you enjoy my selections.


  4. christicorbett

    I’m loving this new aspect of your blog, and look forward to your reviews.

    I’ve been sick this past week, and used my time on the couch to read The Help in less than a day. I highly recommend it! (Not the sick part :))

    I was a avid reader as a kid. My mom would catch me reading late into the night and as punishment would take away my lightbulb in my reading lamp. Never one to be detered, I’d simply continue reading by the light of my electric blanket.

    Christi Corbett


    • I look forward to The Help. We’ve owned it for over a year and I am just now starting to read.

      My dad woke at 4am to get ready for work and often found me in my room reading with a small lamp. He’d just shake his head and tell me to try and get some sleep 🙂

      This feature helps me keep up with my TBR list and also get great ideas from my readers.


  5. DM

    I look forward to this new segment of yours. I too have a reading list taller than the tallest building.


  6. Florence,

    I love all these books. The last really, great one I read was How To Bake A Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal. I’m currently on the 3rd book in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and they are all STELLAR.

    Thanks for all the blog love on Writers In the Storm!


    • I love all the great women I’ve met at WITS and look forward to following each of you through publication and beyond. Thanks for the heads up on the books. You are the second person in one week to recommend Hunger Games. I think I’ll have to get it 🙂


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