Binge Reading

Since October 1st I’ve read 120 books. That’s 4 books a week, every week, for 7 1/2 months.

a pile of booksI’m a big reader, but even for me that’s some serious binging.

Part of it was discovering a new author (John Lescroart) who falls squarely into the category I like to read. And part of that was that I re-read the entire works of Robert Crais and Michael Connelly. There were a few one-offs, a little nonfiction, things like that. There were some I started but didn’t finish; I’m not counting those.

During the same time period I’ve dealt with some emotional trauma, financial concerns, very special events, a big business upswing, starting a new story series with a character who’s been waiting ages to see the light of day, and finishing a book I start long, long ago.

Over the past two months I’ve been shifting, physically. Taking on more projects that require shopping at the home improvement store, sawing and hammering, digging and planting and whatnot. After a year and a half of extreme fatigue, getting my energy back has been highly motivating.

Most of that reading time is going to be spent on my own writing, and on a little more physical activity now that I can do that again.


A Reading on Reading

have you heard the sad fact
that after school most people never read another book?
this is confusing to me
are they too busy? too tired? did they forget how?
it isn’t a lack of great books
I read a new one every year, another weighty tome filled with deathless prose that makes me feel and makes me see things differently, changes my perspective, changes me
and who’s too busy for that?

maybe they don’t want to change
and I get it
because I didn’t either, until I did
it’s inertia, that thing Newton described, that a person without direction will remain directionless, a resister of change will resist until resistance is not futile but painful
because they say we only change when the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same
and that’s sad, too, if you only change to change the pain
and I know pain can make you tired but never be too tired to move away from pain and what if a book will change you without pain, did you consider that?

but I don’t think they know about the change thing, so it must be that they’ve forgotten how
forgotten how to slip between the covers of a gentleman in Moscow, how to go back to 11.22.63, where to hunt for Red October or ditch the big sleep and be gone with the wind
or they’ve mislaid the memory of saying goodnight moon with a hungry caterpillar and a purple crayon where those wild things weave a web and cats wear hats and hop on who knows who
or maybe they never knew about how the pigeon found that hot dog and why he shouldn’t drive the bus, why Anne must be spelled with an e, how the wind sounds in the willows or how to find where the sidewalk ends

but if a little engine could, even after a terrible horrible no good very bad day
maybe we can teach them again
and they’ll remember that reading doesn’t hurt, it heals
and after the initial inertia instead of resistance we’ll have more readers
and the readers’ kids will be readers
like yours
and like mine
like you
and me
and wouldn’t that be splendid?


Binge In, Binge Out

In the past 75 days I’ve read 50 books. I’m up to a book a day during the past week.

For the first 6 weeks I was waiting for minor surgery on my right foot, and the past month, healing from it. Reading is a great way to pass the time when you can’t be on your feet, walking, biking, digging in the yard, all that. Better than watching soaps.

I’ve also been writing like mad. Finished the first draft of Love Runs Out. Outlined (and today, started) the second Jake Calcutta story.

More words in has always equaled more words out, for me.



What Music Videos Teach Us About Author Readings

author-readingThe early days of music videos taught us a number of things, but one of the biggest lessons I took was that musicians cannot necessarily act. The first corollary is that bad acting spoils an otherwise good video. The second is that a bad video takes some of the joy out of a good song.

Stretching a bit more: find video of Irving Berlin, playing piano and singing. Perhaps the worst singer capable of carrying a tune in all history.

Continue reading “What Music Videos Teach Us About Author Readings”


My Latest Read: Café d’Afrique: A Personal Discovery

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When Tineke Van der Eecken first arrives in Africa as part of an international aid programme, she brings with her a mix of childhood dreams and Western preconceived ideas. ‘I came to Africa in high heels,’ she writes.

But when she moves to Zambia, Tineke falls in love – in a completely new way – with the country and its culture. Now she dreams of setting up a ‘cultural restaurant’ where locals and tourists alike can sample authentic Zambian cuisine, music and dance.

Her dream comes true, but can it last?

In the attempt to meet the expected challenges, Tineke must come through some unexpected tests and trials that take her not only beyond borders, but also past boundaries. She wonders if what matters may not be the success of her venture so much as the person she is becoming.

Set against a shifting backdrop of social, political and cultural life in Zambia, this part-memoir, part-travelogue, part-coming-of-age story is a celebration of friendship, not just with people, but with a county. (from the Amazon.com description)

Continue reading “My Latest Read: Café d’Afrique: A Personal Discovery”



I Want to Make My Books a Proper Meal

Our little one is a voracious reader. No surprise there.

We’ve finally told her that after her bedtime routine (more reading, that) she’s no longer allowed to play computer games or watch videos; she can only read books until lights out.

Within 4 days after her weekly library trip, she moans that she doesn’t have anything to read. We know what she means, of course. Though she’ll have us read The Seven Sneezes every night for a month, reading on her own must be something new and exciting.

I know the feeling. Continue reading “I Want to Make My Books a Proper Meal”