I sit in the “Quiet Study” area in my local library three days a week for four hours at a time. It gives me uninterrupted time to write whatever is nearing deadline. When I look up from my computer screen, I gaze with longing at rows of books. If only I had enough years left to start at one end of the stacks and read my way through the entire library!

My husband tells people if he had a nickel for every book I’ve read, he would be rich. Unfortunately, the money is going in the opposite direction. I borrow fiction from the library, but purchase non-fiction books because “I need them for research when I write about such and such.” Jeff Bezos must love people like me.

What to Read?

As I share the reading/writing preferences of my fellow Greece Writers, I admit I could not answer the very question I asked them. My reading (and writing) is eclectic. I’m all over the place with my selections. I enjoy any fiction that places the protagonist in an impossible situation and, through excellent writing, leads to a satisfying conclusion. OR An insightful novel that is heavy on relational issues and lighter on action.

And don’t get me started on non-fiction. In the last year, I’ve read about: climate change, church history, the Christian life, organic farming, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), politics, how to diet, how to beat disease with food, journalism, the FBI, caregiving. And that’s just what comes to mind as I write this. You’ve heard of chain smokers. I’m a chain reader and struggle with what to pull from my bookshelf next. (I also want to reread about half the books I’ve already read.)

My Solution

I wrote ten titles on little snippets of paper, folded them up, and placed them in a box. When I finish one book, I hand the box to my husband to pull out my next literary adventure. I watch with anticipation as he (deliberately) noodles around in the box FOREVER and eventually pulls out my next book. He slowly opens the snippet and smiles. I like the “drum roll please” anticipation until he hands me the snippet. That works well unless…………………

I’m currently engrossed in Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator[1]. Although he makes an excellent case, his interviews with scientists of every stripe describe a universe, earth, galaxy so intricately balanced, changing almost anything by an iota (like a miniscule degree of change of the earth’s rotation) and planets would implode, or life would not be sustainable. Just his description of the machine work in one human cell is stunning. Almost done and ready for the box of delights, I found myself struggling with the rewrite of the last chapter of my novel, The Divine Meddler. Since the last chapter is as important as the first, I simply had to purchase James Scott Bell’s The Last Fifty Pages[2]

James Scott Bell is a generous author. He’s written several novels, but he also shares his craft about writing in the classroom, in books, and interviews. So of course, I need to read one of his novels NOW, Final Witness [3], to see  how he actually reaches and writes those last 50 pages.

I Give Up

That makes three books I’m reading at the same time. Frankly, I don’t think I will be changing my modus operandi any time soon. I am a hopeless book worm through and through.

What about you?

[1] The Case for a creator by Lee Strobel © 2004, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

[2] The Last Fifty Pages by James Scott Bell © 2019, Compendium Press, Woodland Hills, Ca.

[3] Final Witness by James Scott Bell ©1999, Thorndike Press, Waterville, Maine