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?

14 favorite literary themed quotes

quote, quotation marks, writingEverybody can use a little inspiration, especially when writing.  Here’s a few quotes that I’ve tracked down to do just that.  If they don’t inspire you, maybe they’ll make you laugh, or think – and then I’ll feel like I contributed in a way:

“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.” ~ Stephen King

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.” ~ Ayn Rand

“The first draft of anything is shit!” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has to go.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way. ~ Ray Bradbury

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. ~ James Joyce

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ~ Jack Kerouac

“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“What is art? Prostitution.” ~ Charles Baudelaire

“My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.”
~Robert Frost from Two Tramps in Mudtime

“Writers are a little below the clowns and a little above the trained seals.” ~ John Steinbeck

“We have art to save ourselves from the truth.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

What’s your favorite quote?