I have a confession to make: until a few years ago I was not really a reader. Whilst I did read a few things during my childhood (The Harry Potter series springs to mind.) I rarely, if ever, stayed up late reading a good book. I was always far more interested in film and television, to the point where I would get a DVD box-set of a TV season on a Friday and have most of it watched by school on Monday. Even when I joined a book club, I perhaps once read the decided book before we met up to discuss it. Needless to say, looking back now, my earlier life was almost criminally devoid of reading.
In my third year at Durham, as recently as 2011, I bought a Kindle. The intent was to store digitized lecture notes to ease revision, but in truth it did not last very long as a revision aid. The first book I read on it was Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, a recommendation from one of the Astrophysics lecturers. Since then it has proven to be invaluable to me, a portal to a medium I had thus far ignored. I have been trying to make up for lost time ever since.
It would seem rather odd, then, that I would decide one day I wanted to become a writer. Writing without reading is like cooking without eating. If you have no experience as the recipient, how do you know what works? In truth I had some grasp of storytelling from other media, but there are always crucial differences which, if they have not already, may yet trip me up.
Perhaps one advantage to my situation is that, now I have started out writing, I find the way I read has changed. I have all of the material I missed in those earlier years to read afresh with the eye of a writer. To try and figure out not only what other authors do well, but what they don’t.
To this end I have decided to create the reading list, which I will try and keep track of on this blog. I will also endeavour to share my thoughts about the things I read as well as the things I write. So, as it stands, my reading list currently looks like this:
Mage’s Blood – David Hair (Currently reading)
The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence
Foundation/Foundation and Empire/Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
Use of Weapons – Iain M Banks
Brood of Bones – A E Marling
The Only Boy – Jordan Locke
Wherewolves – John Vamvas & Olga Montes
The list is little more than a plan and is subject to change, obviously. There are various reasons for the choices and order, some are Christmas presents, one is on loan from a friend, and the last three are part of my effort to read at least one thing written by other authors I come across.
So expect to see more posts appearing here, and I will continue to post Tomorrow Man as well. Next part of that should be up on March 1st.