Are you reading the same genres again and again? I do and I suspect I am not particular experimental with this years reading, however, I still do the #supporttranslatedbooks book group on Goodreads and reading non-english writing authors can be considered reading outside the box. Here are my thoughts on the topic from 2014 and if you haven’t read the books at the end of the post then I encourage you to do so this year
How are you doing? How is your writing going? Do you storm ahead with words spilling out or do you struggle? And does your reading help you?
A few months ago I posted The Write Guy Randy Ingermanson’s article about “You write what you read” showing that it is important to read anything to improve your writing. The first edition of mslexia that I have got conducted a survey of which genres their readers read with the question:
“Is your reading prejudiced”
Apparently, mslexia readers are not and read pretty much anything and mainly want to have more time to read more of everything. That made me wonder how excluding my reading is: Well, I have always been reading poetry, fantasy, crime, sci-fi and literary fiction. To be honest I was looking down a lot on erotica and romance books but as in all genres you have some cheap stuff and some really well-written novels and these two are no exemption.
But besides any genres, I might have shunned ( I still hardly read any non-fiction) what about the main characters I read about? I have to admit I prefer to read about women. Not sure why. But the women I read about, how many are disabled, black, Asian and/or women with mental health issues?
I can count two Japanese women ( Mikage Sakurai in Banana Yoshimoto’s “Kitchen” and Tsukiko in Hiromi Karakami’s “Strange Weather in Tokyo), one lady in Mozambique but I think she was not native to the country (Julia in Chris Barnard’s “Bundu”) and that’s it.
There has been a girl being a drug addict in a famous 70’s book in Germany( We Children from Bahnhof Zoo). One black male doctor but it wasn’t clear to me for quite some time that he was supposed to be black, who had lots of psychological trouble (Alcott in Chris Reardon’s “Obstacles”), an ill Dutch lady (not named lady in Gebrand Bakker’s “The Detour/Ten White Geese”) and a mentally ill French lady (first person narrator in Veronique Olmi’s “Beside the Sea”).
Hmm, maybe not so bad after all but compared to the hundreds of books I have read throughout my life ( yes, there has also been Uncle Tom’s Hut and Huckleberry Finn ) not a lot.
Concerning authors, I have started to wonder who else is out there in Africa and Asia I have never heard of and whom I might miss. I enjoyed the Japanese, Iraqi & South African authors a lot that I have read. They certainly have pushed my imagination and have given me more motivation to try myself out more in my writing and maybe the same is just what you need for giving your writing a new kick.
Here are some examples if you want to join me in reading something different:
( some affiliate links with Wordery)
Kitchen ~ Banana Yoshimoto
Strange Weather in Tokyo ~ Hiromi Karakami
Bundu ~ Chris Barnard
The Detour ~ Gerbrand Bakker
Beside the sea ~ Veronique Olmi
The Elegance of the Hedgehog ~ Muriel Barbery
The Kite Runner ~ Khaled Hosseini
The Colonel ~ Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
My Father’s Wives ~ Jose Eduardo Agualusa
Belka, why don’t you bark? ~ Hideo Furukawa
I curse the River of time ~ Per Petterson
The Fat Years ~ Chan Koonchung
Trieste ~ Dasa Drndic
Enjoy and feel free to give me some recommendations for Asian or African authors. Thanks!
Fellow bloggers wrote about “read something different”:
Kristilyn at Reading in Winter: Reading in Translation: My Translated Books TBR
Kate at Kate MacDonnald: The 2017 Vondel Prize