I’ve never been the kind of person to make resolutions because, if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I need to be really mentally ready to do something before I can commit to it and that kind of mental readiness is almost never determined by a date on a calendar.
So I really struggled with this post, because I’ve already conquered the quit smoking thing (March of ’99) and have been eating healthy since last January, so there isn’t a whole lot left that I could think of that I wanted to change about my life/lifestyle that I could really commit to.
Until it hit me; I’ve been lazy about my reading. Not to say I don’t read, because I do, and as a matter of fact, I think I read more books this past year than I ever have, but I’m not reading some of the books I really should be reading. My issue is that when I sit down to read, I really want to escape, and nothing takes me out of my life quite as well as a steamy Elizabeth Hoyt book or an equally steamy J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood novel. But as I continue down the road towards publication and working towards being a career writer, I still need to work on my craft and become even more familiar with the genres I write in. As many of you know, I didn’t set out to write middle grade books, so I haven’t read a ton of them as an adult.
So, here is my resolution and feel free to check back with me next December to see how well I did (I am actually putting a note in my calendar right now to check in on myself).
HATCHET by Gary Paulsen – this one came highly recommended and is a Newbery Honor Book that has sold a bajillion copies. If that isn’t enough reason, here’s the short description: After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the Canadian wilderness, learning to survive with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents’ divorce. Hells, yeah, it’s set in CANADA!
HOLES by Louis Sachar – I’ve actually read/heard several times that this is the quintessential middle grade book and it seems those who give out awards agree. From Amazon.com: Holes is a 1998 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the 1999 Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 1999 Newbery Medal. Wow, that’s some pretty impressive hardware. And apparently it’s very funny, and seeing as I do try to write funny, reading other peoples funny books is always a good idea.
SAVE THE CAT! The Last book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder – I’ve read most of this one, but then a new Elizabeth Hoyt novel came out and I abandoned it. I need to re-read and finish it because it’s a great craft book on story structure and the chronic pantster in me can always use a little help in this arena. Case in point: I recently had to write a book proposal and trying to figure out the end (and middle, really) before writing the book made me break out into a cold sweat. I managed to do it in the end, but it nearly killed me. So yeah, I could use to brush up on my plotting/structure skills.
NAKED AT THE PODIUM – The Writer’s Guide to Successful Readings by Peter V.T. Kahle and Melanie Workhoven – this one came highly recommended by another author and is pretty self-explanatory. Since my book comes out in six months (although it’s now available for pre-order) this read is actually at the top of my list. I am determined not to faint or vomit at most signings, so some serious public speaking prep is necessary.
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott – I’ve read this one in its entirety before, but need to read it again now that I actually will be published and have a slightly different take on the business than I did when I first picked it up. I freaking love this book and recommend it to
ANY writer, not just because of the practical advice, but because it’s damn funny and who couldn’t use a laugh when thinking about this business?
So there, there’s my short, humble (and easily doable) list of books that I resolve to read this year. I’ll do it. I swear I will.
And I just checked: Elizabeth Hoyt doesn’t have another book coming out until June, so I should be good to go.