Teaching, Writing

What I’m reading right now

I sent out a query to an agency this week that was done through a form on a website rather than through email.  (Side note: This seems to be a growing trend for agencies, and I bet it helps them to categorize, sort and log their queries.  I predict it will be more common for agencies to go this route.)  As part of the submission form, I was asked to name the most recent book I read.

I think that’s a great question and I thought it would be worthwhile to share my answer.

If I was being totally honest, the most recent book I read was Biscuit Loves the Library by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, which is one of the books my four-year-old checked out of the library last weekend.  But, I am not sure that is what the question was really asking.   What I wrote was Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg.

There is a unique pleasure to reading a book after my toddlers have gone to sleep.  In this photo, I’m also clearly reading rather than folding those baskets of laundry that are on the right edge of the frame.  I’ve got my priorities straight.

But sometimes it is too good to wait for after their bedtimes, so I read during bathtime!

I absolutely loved it.  Non-fiction has been appealing to me lately, but I love Aziz’s voice and humor.  Reading it was also a trip down memory lane to my single days in New York.  I did online dating and speed dating, and I remember well what that was like.  Interesting and really funny, this one had me giggling in the evenings.  In addition, I’ve been gravitating towards non-fiction to avoid losing my own voice in my writing.  Like picking up an accent, sometimes I find that whatever fiction I’m reading tends to influence my own writing.  It’s tricky to balance inspiration with my own individuality.  
The other books I am currently knee-deep in are these two:
Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2016, a gift from my mother-in-law for Christmas.  
I’ve been reading through all of the agent, publisher, and magazine listings.  There are also very interesting articles and interviews.  A lot of this is reiterating what I learned at the Mid-South SCBWI conference, but it’s nice to have this reference text.  

And Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.  (Again, notice the jammies.  I’m in the After-The-Toddlers-Are-Asleep Writing and Reading Club.)

I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers once through, and now I am re-reading it and taking notes and making one giant checklist.  Each of the 12 chapters ends with a self-editing checklist.  I am putting that all on one document and adding my notes and highlights from each chapter.  It’s really a great book, with examples, clear explanations, exercises and checklists.  I read it in December, between finishing the third draft of my novel and starting the fourth.  My hope is to start using the checklists and my notes to tackle my fourth draft next week.

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