I could write epic poetry about how important books are to my life. Not just as a writer myself, but as a person who has at various points in her life turned to the written word for escapism, inspiration, knowledge, a laugh much needed, catharsis craved. I read voraciously – fuck, I’m reading right now, in between writing this and bumbling around online. As this week’s Wicked Wednesday theme is reading (it’s fundamental, don’t cha know?), I thought I’d forgo writing flash fiction for once, in favour of some idle musings about reading and books (with recommendations added in for good measure).
How I read
As a writer, I’ve found that keeping my reading choices as broad as possible (so, not just keeping to erotica as my be-all-end-all genre) has helped me to improve my craft so much. Bits and bobs of inspiration, whether it be a new way of telling a story, or a jumping-off point for a plot, come and tack themselves on the notice board in my Memory Palace. It’s much the same with film, one of the other major cornerstones in my life. Atmospheres, words, moments, all sticking in my head like raw material. Fabric waiting patiently to be stitched together into a quilt of story.
As a person, outside of what I do when I’m doing writer-y stuff, books have been so important to me throughout my life that, if you asked me when this love for the written started I’d probably ehhhmmm… myself inside out. I’ve always read. I’ve always loved losing myself in stories, both fictional and (later in life) fact. As someone who has spent most of her adult life battling depression, reading is one of the things that still gives me relief. It makes the endless feedback loop of shite in my head come to a momentary halt. It makes my morning commute way less painful. It makes my heart sing to hold a book, it makes me giddy to come across something and think YES YOU, I WILL READ YOU NEXT.
Both points of view feed into each other, as much as they can stand separately. I read to enjoy both as a person and as a writer. It just means that as a writer my brain will be attuned slightly differently to the book in front of me.
What I read
Would you be at all surprised that my answer to this would be “fucking anything that I like the look and sound of, mate”? Because it totally is.
Okay, but seriously, narrow it down a bit
In fiction: sci-fi, fantasy, romantic comedy, thriller, YA.
In non-fiction: biographies, works on sex and relationships, works on feminism, works on mental health, comedy, investigative journalism, histories of film
In comics: Marvel, Image Comics, stand-alone graphic novels, Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Matthew Inman, Allie Brosh, Erika Moen.
Online: any long-reads that pique my interest
Offline: my house is basically wall to wall copies of Total Film/Empire/SFX/Sci-Fi Now
And in erotica?
Themed short story anthologies (anything that catches my eye, again), erotic romance, thrillers (think Kristina Lloyd and Tiffany Reisz).
Most recent read
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger (which is great).
Most recent thing what you wrote yourself?
Stuck with You: A Short Erotic Romance.
Recommend me something!
Right, I could sling titles and names at you all day, but these are off the top of my head.
– Carrie by Stephen King
– Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon
– Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (also Let’s Pretend This Never Happened)
– Any of The Oatmeal collections (drawn by Matthew Inman)
– Hark, A Vagrant!/Step Aside Pops by Kate Beaton
– Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
– The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
– Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
– Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat! by Kate Leth and Brittany Williams
– Anything you find online by Hayley Campbell
– The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner
– Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
– Drawing Blood by Molly Crabapple
– A Gentleman in the Streets by Alisha Rai
– The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
– Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole
Seriously, I could go on for a while.