What do readers like to know about what authors are reading?

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What do readers like to know about what authors are reading?

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Edited: May 20, 2010, 8:43am

Hi All, I am reposting this under a new thread at the suggestion of Countrylife. Would love to hear your thoughts!

I'm looking forward to an upcoming panel at Borders in NYC (Sunny Days, Starry Nights) where along with four other authors, I will be talking about my upcoming debut novel The Language of Trees (Avon) as well as books I'm reading or plan to read for summer. I want to make this a valuable discussion so thought I'd ask a few q's of you: what is it about what authors are reading that you really want to know? What questions would you ask if you were there?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Ilie Ruby The Language of Trees (Avon HarperCollins)

read May 16, 2010, 9:35am (top)Message 2: countrylife
What are your normal reading habits? Do you read equally of fiction and non-fiction?

Does that change when you're working on a book? More non-fiction/research books?

When you read fiction, is it generally the same kind that you like to write about? Or do you prefer something completely different?

read May 17, 2010, 10:03pm (top)Message 3: IlieRuby (author page)

These are great questions. Thanks for posting them.
I usually have two to three books going around the same time, two nonfiction and one fiction depending on how much time I have available with 3 little kiddos at home. These days I am reading everything I can about motherhood!

I write literary fiction in the magical realism vernacular. Lyricism and poetry speak to my soul so yes, I do enjoy fiction of the same ilk. It gives me inspiration!
And yes, everything changes when I am working on a book. When I am actively writing, I tend to read as much poetry as I can. It fuels the fire. Research takes an enormous amount of time and energy. Because of this, I am fiercely protective of my creative writing time. It is what brings me the most joy as a writer.

Edited: May 20, 2010, 4:34am

Assuming I've read and enjoyed an author's work, then I'm interested in what they've read, because the odds are good that what they read and enjoy, I may well enjoy too. Doesn't always work of course, but anything that increases the probability of finding a good book is useful!

Also it's interesting to see how the author's reading has influenced their text. And finally there is sometimes interesting to follow the research trail and find out more about some of the subject the author's included in their work.

I'm not that bothered what some author I've not heard of/read before reads ..... but if I find they like the same sort of books that I do, then I'm more likely to try their work. - one reason for adding books to LT!

May 20, 2010, 8:01am

Waiting patiently for Alan Furst's newest, due out next month.


May 20, 2010, 12:48pm

A question I'd ask of authors in general (not, to be honest, of you, because I haven't read your book, it doesn't look like my thing, and in fact the description on Member Giveaways made it sound like it would be very painful for me for reasons I'd prefer not to get into):

When you're working on a book, do you deliberately avoid reading anything "similar", to avoid inadvertent influence? (From reading some authors' blogs I know that many do, and one author has told the story of, after telling someone about his WIP, being told "Whatever you do, don't read this particular book until you're done. It's great, but it's too similar."

It's hard to come up with anything more specific, since I haven't actually read your book. Sorry. I'd imagine the audience at your actual event will be more familiar with it, though.

May 21, 2010, 8:37am

Are you working on another book right now?

What ARE your reading plans for the summer? And how does your reading progress? Do you have a shelf of ToBeRead books from which you draw in order, according to a plan? Or do you reach for something as the mood strikes?

May 21, 2010, 8:51am

Hi Ilie,

Welcome to LibraryThing!

When is your panel at Borders? Just want you to know it will be most likely posted on LT Local, and, if it's not, be sure to post it.

I'm always curious to know if authors are reading the same books that I read. I like to hear them recommend books and especially tell why those books are meaningful. That gives a nice look into an author's personality as well as learning if I share a concern or an idea with an author. This is also a great season to suggest some fun beach reads!

I also like to learn about what past reading influences an author to work in a chosen genre or particular style. For example, what authors have you read in the past which led you to incorporate magical realism into your work? Magical realism, I'm learning, is something people either love or hate (and never the twain shall meet).

How do you choose the books you want to read? This is an important question because your time is at a premium. You should be writing more than you are reading, but, of course, you have to do both!

Best of luck, both with the upcoming panel and your debut book! Both sound very exciting.

Edited: May 23, 2010, 11:54pm

Hi Countrylife: I have just started writing a new book. I can't tell you what it's about but I can tell you that it's partly set in Ethiopia, Africa, where I spent time over the last 3 years doing humanitarian work. And of course, now I have a personal connection to the place as a new mom to 3.

My summer reading plans: The Story Sisters, The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle, Red Hook Road, Marriage and other Calamities, and the one I'm most excited about The Storm Chasers by Jenna Blum. Jenna just shared with me some interesting stories about how she wrote the book, it was fascinating. I'll be talking about it at the Borders Summer Reading Panel in Columbus Circle tomorrow!

Thanks, as always, Countrylife!

May 24, 2010, 12:15am

Hi SqueakyChu!
For magical realism, I like a very subtle touch. To answer your question about past reading influences, hands down Alice Hoffman for her incredible ability to make the ordinary extraordinary in the most delicate and unassuming use of magical realism I've come across; Isabel Allende; Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones and Lucky for her amazing ability to be frank about tragedy without a bitter narrative, rather a forgiving one. As a child, I loved stories about girl-coming-of-age-angst as much as I loved stories in which ordinary characters discover a magical world within the everyday. I vividly remember scenes from the books of C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia, Saturday the 12th of October by Norma Klein, and Alice in Wonderland. Oh, and we can't forget The Wizard of Oz for capturing a girl's imagination!

In choosing books, time is at a premium, you're right, and it is hard to write, read, and mommy all at the same time! When I figure out a system I'll let you know. I'm realizing that some days it's of dire importance to have a schedule, and other days, well, that goes out the window because you just can't argue with a 3-year old!


May 24, 2010, 12:15am

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May 24, 2010, 12:16am

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