Friday, April 28, 2017

Taking a Page Out of Someone Else's Book

I don't know if I've said this before (I've really lost track of all the things I've said), but I've been much more influenced by movies and TV than other books. I imagine that's why my stories are always so dialogue heavy and description light. They're verging on script territory.

There are two possible solutions to this:

  • Give up on prose fiction and write scripts
  • Read more books

I used to read a lot. Like, a ton. Notably, that was during times in my life when I didn't have internet. That is, in my youth, and that one year when I had my own little studio apartment and couldn't be arsed to pay for internet. If I wanted internet, I had to walk the half a block up to the public library and stay within ten feet of their wireless router, where the idea of a chair and table to set my laptop on was a foreign concept. So I would get movies from the library, and books.

But now I have internet. And a chair. And a table. And so I don't do a lot of reading. I just finished Terry Pratchett's Making Money yesterday, and Goodreads informs me that I started reading it August 5, 2014. I can't fathom how it took me that long to read it. What have I been doing with my life this whole time? To compare, just before that, I read had read a previous Pratchett book, Going Postal in 16 days. And before that, I read Thud! in five. Now it takes me 997? I'm so disappointed in myself…

This illustrates how I don't read that much anymore. That needs to change. And I should probably branch out and read something besides Discworld. But I don't want to! (She said with a petulant whine.)

So let me ask you this: what books, or what authors, would you recommend I read? And why? Do they have vivid descriptions? Engaging characters? Wild plots? You know, give me a reason to want to read it. Don't just tell me "It's good." Tell me why it's good. Tell me why I should greedily turn page after page and not drag it out for three years.

I miss reading. Nowadays, I just watch Netflix and spend too much time on the internet. Living in the future is not all it's cracked up to be. I mean, look at me. I'm writing this on a tablet at 1am while listening to music on YouTube. What happened to staying up late reading just one more chapter and accidentally finishing the book at 3am? Now it's one more episode, one more Reddit thread. One more mile down the Facebook feed. So tied to all this modern technology. Soon all that will be left are machines. And where will we be? We'll be machines, too.

Sorry. Like I said, it's 1am. I get existential after midnight.

They say to write good books, you need to read good books. I've heard that. And I laughed. HaHA! But I scoffed inadvisably. I mean, I keep saying that I don't know what I'm doing. So why would I think for a moment that I did? Know what I'm doing, I mean. Why would I think I knew better than the proverbial "they"?

So yes, recommend books for me to read. Novels, short stories, whatever. Preferably something I can find at a library. I'm not made of money over here.

And if you're wondering if I'll ever finish my Camp NaNo story, the answer is yes, I will. This weekend. That's all the time I have, after all. I just don't know how it ends. With death and misery, probably. You know me.

I'll see you Tuesday.


  1. I think you will like "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal". It makes me laugh SO MUCH. When I was married and shared sleeping arrangements with someone, I wasn't "allowed" to read that book at night. It shook the bed when I giggled. Give it a browse. I actually love all of the books that I've read of Christopher Moore. He has a very weird sense of humor.
    This is the description from Amazon : The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

    Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala -- and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.

  2. If you're interested in something more...romantic? historical? I'm not sure, less funny, more adventure. I'd also recommend the 1st of the Outlander books. It's actually called Outlander. It's about a WWII nurse who "falls back in time" to 1783 Scotland. Diana Gabeldon writes very thorough descriptions of place and actions. And long dialogue conveying many emotions. I get sucked right into the book and the characters. They are like real people that I should know. She wrote the book as a practice book to see if she was any good at writing. It's a tome. And she's learned that she'd very good. There are 8 in the series now, with one on the way (I'm betting it's the last one). She also has a spin off series called the Lord John Grey books. They are MUCH shorter, but I feel like you have to know the characters before you read them. The Outlander books are the basis of the Starz Outlander show (which I also love).

    (The first 3 books are the best. The 5th and 6th were difficult for me to get through {took 3 years to read #5}, but the last 2 are nearly as good as the first ones. I'm looking forward to the next one to release.

  3. Found myself in the same situation and decided to cut out Netflix cold turkey. I'm sure I'll pick it up again for specific shows. *cough* Stranger Things season 2 *cough* But it's been almost 3 months and I don't miss it as much as I thought I would. Also, I'm sure you have a list in your mind of those books you've wanted to read or know are "must read classics" but never got around to them. I know I do. So, audiobooks. It feels a little like cheating, but listening to them is great when doing the laundry/cooking/avoiding taxes.
    When I get home from work, I tend to avoid watching a movie because it's a whole movie and who has time for that during the week and instead put on a few episodes because it's less of a commitment. Same goes for novels and short story collections. I want a chunk of time to read a novel, but reading a quick shortie before bed seems much more doable.

    Had to laugh at the Pratchett books because I just picked up Guards!Guards! - Going back to where I started in Discworld.

    1. I just started Guards! Guards! on Friday! Great minds or whatever.