Why we read…

When I started this blog back in March, my idea was to share thoughts and experiences in my life that relate to writing or promoting novels.  This included the books that my wife and I have been reading. She is my partner in these adventures and frequently reads something because it relates to subjects in my novels or enlightens the experience of writing. In earlier posts, I told about reading Not in My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila, The Other Wes Moore … by Wes Moore, Light Ruck by Tom LaCombe, and Wandering Souls … by Wayne Karlin, and mentioned that Barbara read Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me by Andrea Young and Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. Books mentioned in the earlier posts that we both read included The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez and the children’s book, A Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton. More recently, we’ve both read A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrich because it’s set in the year 1907, the same year in which I set part of Well Considered.  We read Jarrettsville, because Robert Goolrich wrote a favorable review of it in The Washington Post. This turned out to be a favorite. It’s a historical novel set just after the Civil War in a part of Maryland not far from where we live, with soldiers from both sides returning home, some injured or diseased, freed slaves, and people struggling to rebuild their lives. The story is told by several different voices, which I found interesting because I wrote Well Considered from several points of view.  We read The House at Sugar Beach because Barbara’s fourth-grade friend had become a missionary in Liberia and Barbara wanted to read about what the country was like for her and author Helene Cooper who grew up there. I read P.G. County and Can’t Get Enough by Connie Briscoe, because they describe the same county where I located Well Considered.  Finally, I read A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style, by Tim Gunn and following Gunn’s advice, have not disposed of my trench coat because Gunn said it was an indispensible wardrobe element. Recently, however, Tim’s sister told me, “I think he was talking about women’s overcoats.”  What we’re reading now, I’ll save for the next post and give some other older ones special attention a little later.

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