As a writer, we should read, read, and read other authors. We need inspiration by their word choices, settings and different genres. These readings stimulate our own mind and the way we look at our stories.

Read all genres, which are different from your normal writing, and then read in your genre. Read for pleasure. Experience the feelings your body absorbs. Do not question, just enjoy. Then when you finish the book, examine some of the areas where you found yourself stimulated or bored. Go back to the places and read again to see why you experience the different emotions. Do not get bogged down, let your own imagination take you on your journey through other books.

When I belonged to a book club eons ago, our choices ran rampant. We selected books at random and across all genres. This was when, in a bookstore or library, I ran to the thriller section, my get-away genre. In our book club, I found myself venturing into other areas and my mind became saturated with all books. Once every six months, we would pick a non-fiction book about a specific individual, such as Georgia O’Keeffee, Queen Victoria or Indira Gandhi, just to mention a few. You had to stay with the chosen person, but you could pick any author who wrote on this subject.Talk about intriguing and stimulating conversations….we sometimes went way over our closing time. This is where you find out how different authors view the same subject. Interesting comparisons.

A friend gave me a book while I was in the hospital. “You will enjoy reading this, I promise,” she told me.  THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY became my bedfellow. The author, Mary Ann Shaffer, was an editor, librarian, and bookseller. This was her first novel. Her niece, Annie Burrows, stepped in when Shaffer’s health issues took top priority. After her death, the niece’s persistence and ability to promote, gave this book the push needed for a best seller.

Take yourself back to WWII and the German invasion of Europe. There are several Channel Islands between the United Kingdom and France. This novel is about the Guernsey Channel Islands and the people who lived there and the hardships they endured. This is a book of letters and each letter to a person gives, you the reader, the feeling of being right there. You get to know the people associated with the Guernsey Island and the literary society. Sometimes, I’d put the book down and wait for–mail call. I met new and interesting characters; resourceful, funny, sad, lost lives, hard-working, limited abilities, deaths, a young child and love. All of this during the invasion of their little island. Please take yourself on a letter journey with this book. I bet you will find yourselves waiting for the mail to arrive.

This was ‘outside my box’ reading until a non-fiction writer friend loaned me a copy  one of her critique friends had published, OF HUMAN CLAY, the making and breaking of a nun by Aimee Wise.  Check her out on Facebook and Twitter

Writers, readers, and followers, I’d love to hear your comments on how and what you read “Outside Your Box.”