Summer Reading List

tim horvath, understories, book, author, writerWell, summer is right around the corner for us New Englanders. The warmer weather gets us outdoors into the parks, onto our brownstone stoops, and to the beaches. Hopefully, if you’re like me, you’ll be bringing a book with you.

Two years ago when I was knee-deep in writing Instant Connections, I was reading a lot of non-fiction books: Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, just to name a few.

This year, as I just started a new challenge––writing a historical fiction book, I’ve been reading and re-reading books in that genre to learn more about how authors tackle plot lines and building interesting and dynamic characters.

So, yeah, I’ve tackled all of Dan Brown’s books. They are easy to read and he tells a good story. William Martin is another favorite of mine. In the last year I have read his books Back Bay, The Lincoln Letter, and most recently Harvard Yard. His approach to writing gets you reading in the present day, in one chapter, and then in the next, you are reading about something that happened back in time.  The story volleys back and forth like this throughout the book.

As for me, I have finished some of the research for my new book and have about 10% of the writing started. For a historical fiction book, most average between 90-120,000 words, so I’ve got a ways to go.

In between my writing this summer, I have added these six books to my Summer Reading List:

The Ocean at The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
Tinkers by Paul Harding
Understories by Tim Horvath
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
REMOTE by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond

The first two I’ve had on my shelf for a while, the third book is by a colleague of mine, the forth book I’ve started but need to pick back up, the fifth book I bought and will read because I liked their first book REWORK, and the last book I have also started but need to finish.

What are you reading?

10 Rules for Fiction Writers

So I went out to get a burrito, and came home with an idea for a fiction book.  I ran the idea past my wife, and she wanted to know where I came up with such an idea.  It just came to me, I said.  I’m already working on a book of essays about photography and those are all non-fiction, fact-based stories from my personal experiences.  This new idea has nothing to do with me or photography––it is a historical fiction story with roots to Boston, especially the Back Bay/Beacon Hill neighborhoods.10 rules for writing fiction, writer, fiction, stories, books, tips

Since fiction writing isn’t my forte, I plan to do a little research before I get too engrossed in this thing.  The Guardian ran this story about the 10 Rules for Fiction Writers.  I need all the help I can get.

I know writers like Dan Brown and William Martin have a specific style where each chapter goes back and forth from adventures between the protagonists point of view to the antagonists point of view, or present day to to past. I don’t know if that is a specific style of writing––I guess I’ll have to figure that out. Right now this is just me being excited.  I hope it pans out.

Inferno by Dan Brown

dan brown, inferno, author, book, florence, italy, Dante, divine comedyAfter an up and down week of many highs and lows, I decided to clear my head and read.  It was either going to be reading or writing (since a beach vacation was out of the question), and since my editor has been busy picking apart my own book (which I can’t wait to begin working on again), I opted for something full of suspense.

Dan Brown‘s newest novel Inferno came out last week.  I had it on my calendar for months.  I have enjoyed all of his other books, especially the ones with Robert Langdon as the protagonist. After watching Tom Hanks play the lead in the movies The Da Vinci Code and the follow-up Angles & Demons, I hear his voice in my head when I read.  I’m not sure that happens to anyone else––maybe I’m weird.

I like books that suck you in and when you read them, the sentences go by in rapid fire progression. You never want to put the book down: you want to continue reading even when it’s the wee hours of the night. These are also the kinds of books that I never forget where I left off. Sometimes I even dream about them as if I was just in the scene.

This book is good and makes me want to go back to Florence.  Others in Italy are hoping for a tourism uptick.  Check out this article from The Guardian.