Spring 2018 Reading List

 

You guys know I love to read pretty much anything. All it takes is a glance for me to start speed reading anything that comes across a desk. I would describe myself as a pretty curious person as well, so the types of reading materials that catch my eye are usually pretty varied.

My primary love is fiction but this season I’ll be taking a break from my usual fallback reads by nerding out to some non-fiction books that will take me to infinity and beyond, from the confines of the psychiatrist’s office to the sociology of a city block. Who knows where my curiosity will take me next?

  1. The Book of Lists (Canadian edition) edited by Ira Basen, Jane Farrow, David Wallenchinksy and Amy Wallace
  2. How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist by David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden
  3. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
  4. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene
  5. Happy City: Transforming our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

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Fall 2017/Winter 2018 Reading List

Now that spring has arrived, I better tell you what I’ve been reading this past fall/winter. Spoiler alert: not a whole lot.

Winter is not a great time of year for me. The mornings are dark, the nights are even darker and during the day it’s freakin’ cold! Usually this combo makes the winter months perfect for curling up with a good book, but like the weather (and my mood) my reading routine kind of fell into a rut.

To refresh my reading routine for the new year, I focused on titles that captured my attention, or inspired me- I guess it was my own little way of snapping myself out of my lull and rediscovering my love of reading. Plus, it was a great excuse to stay inside with my blanket and a cup of tea.

As it turned out, I barely noticed the nasty weather when I was absorbed in a book that stretched the limits of my imagination. Lesson learned; I’ll be arming myself accordingly next year.

Fall 2017
  1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  2. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
  3. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  4. Moo by Jane Smiley
  5. The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq

Winter 2018

  1. Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
  2. The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker
  3. Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark
  4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  5. Double Fault by Lionel Shriver

What are some of the titles that have been inspiring you recently? Email me your favorites at keepingbusyb@gmail.com or comment below and see if anyone else feels the same way!

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

Great Readers Make Great Writers

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This post goes out to those poor souls attempting the NaNoWriMo challenge this month! (That’s National Novel Writing Month if you’re not in the know, and you can find out more about it here.)

There’s this old adage about great readers making great writers, and like most old adages, I find this one to be true. (Hence the title of this post.)

Reading and writing are kind of like bread and butter. (Unless you can think of a more G-free metaphor-peanut butter and jelly?) The more authors, genres and styles you experience as a reader can help you develop your own voice and spark your own creativity.

I’m the kind of reader that has to read absolutely everything (okay, maybe there are some exceptions). As a writer, too, it comes as no surprise that a book about writing finds its way onto my bookshelves. In many ways, I find reading about writing oddly inspiring and- dare I say it- helpful to me as a writer. Here are some of the titles that have stood out:

Writing can be an isolating activity and if you don’t have a fellow scribe to talk to it can start to feel a little lonely. Natalie Goldberg, critically-acclaimed writer, poet and teacher has written a lovely little collection of thoughts and stories about writing called Writing Down the Bones that feels more like a series of letters to fellow writers than it does a book. As such, don’t be afraid to read this book in an untraditional way- it’s the kind of book you stash on your shelf and revisit from time to time, picking a selection at random whenever you’re looking for inspiration or just a chance to connect with someone who knows what you’re going through. At the end, you’ve kind of feel like you’ve made a new friend.

Even if you’re not a fan of chick lit, you may be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel by Cathy Yardley. Aspiring fiction authors everywhere will get a kick at exploring the major story themes and character archetypes of the genre, and it provides fascinating insight into the minds of the writers and publishers who have the chick lit novel down to a fine science.

If you’re looking to unlock your creativity, the legendary book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron may be a good way to start. It’s not necessarily just about writing, although many of the exercises included are designed to help you develop your craft. Instead, The Artist’s Way is about finding a way to express the creativity that Cameron believes is locked inside each of us, no matter which art form you choose. The goal here is not to become a famous author but to find a way to express yourself without fear, anxiety or guilt.

If you feel like your ideas and voice are developed, but you’re struggling with cultivating a writing routine, then How to Write a Lot by Paul J. Silva is for you. Originally conceived with the academic writer in mind, I still found this book an extremely practical guide for incorporating writing into your everyday routine, plus it has some great tips for getting those creative juices flowing.

Finally, if you don’t know where to start, I suggest starting at the beginning with a copy of Three Genres by Stephen Minot. It’s the quintessential guide to- you guessed it- the three genres of writing: prose, poetry and plays. Pick your favorite section to get a crash course, or read the whole thing from cover to cover to gain a better understanding of story structure and language. I loved this textbook so much in high school I almost stole it when I graduated. That’s how invaluable it was to me!

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And of course, this list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give an honorable mention to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. (I gush all about it here, if you’re interested.) It’s not necessarily about writing, or for writers, but it was an important reminder for me to keep on creating for the sake of my own joy and self-expression.

Happy reading and writing!

B

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What are some of the books that have helped you in your writing process? I’d love to know! Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I may include your suggestions in an updated version of this post!

I love to read and I love sharing my favorite books with you. (For more reading inspiration click here or here.) Don’t forget to friend me on Goodreads either! Btw: These lists are totally my own creation and I was not paid or perked to share my opinions with you by any author or publishing company.