UPS delivered a most delightful looking book to my doorstep today; see photo at left. Yep, the first batch of All the Money in the World just rolled off the presses, in time to be in book stores on March 1. There is something so wonderful about holding a finished book in one’s hand. The weight seems to give substance to ideas. So anyway, it is done, it exists, and now I just need to promote it.
Thinking of books, I’ve been taking a close look at my own reading habits lately. I always say I would like to read more fiction. I actually read an incredible amount — it is not unusual for me to devour 2 or more books a week. I don’t watch TV much and that frees up a lot of time. The issue is that TV serves a purpose. We all need mindless time that doesn’t demand too much of our brains. We want something easy and pleasurable. And for whatever reason, fiction doesn’t seem to serve that function for me. I often like the books I pick up. I made it through Freedom this summer. But when I have a choice, I find it easier to pick up works of narrative non-fiction. Recently, I re-read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Happiness Project, rather than hacking through The Art of Fielding (which is on my Kindle, but not getting read).
We all have our preferences of course, but this is an issue for me because I would like to write fiction (like every other writer, I’m working on a novel, if you define “working” as “occasionally thinking about it”…). Part of writing better fiction is reading good fiction and seeing how it’s done. Obviously, I can and have read the classics — Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina — but let’s face it. I’m not going to be Tolstoy. I could, however, compete in the field of current popular fiction. So that is what I should be reading.
And I’m not.
Why is that? I don’t know. I welcome suggestions on novels that have been pleasurable to read and aren’t too long. I’m not looking for terribly taxing, and also nothing too bleak. I can read the newspaper for that. I want fun. Thoughts?