Iíve got another survey for you this month, and I promise to do something different next month.† But, I thought since this column is called, ďBefore the Titleí that it might be interesting to see what other writers like to read and why, since so many writers write what they like to read.
Iíll start this survey off by answering this question myself. I received my first book on my seventh birthday, and I have been in love with books ever since. I read for two reasons.† The first for pure escapism.† The second for entertainment.†
For years books were not only my best friends, they were my only friends.† Today my circle of friends is not quite so limited, but I still enjoy reading and read almost everything.† However, my favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy. That said, hereís what other authors read and why, in their own unedited words and thoughts.
LaurieAnne - Author
I read for inspiration, for entertainment, and for education. I will read pretty much anything, even my husband's magazines that come in the black plastic sleeve. I read mostly to learn everything that I can about human nature in order to create realistic characters and realistic situations. I read to escape the stress-filled world of reality, and sometimes even to be scared out of my wits just so that I appreciate better where I am in life. I read to remind myself that people have worse problems than I do, and they come out of it alive and in one piece (well, most of the time, depending on the book).
Tracy Sutterer -† Author
I read for pure escape purposes myself. I teach reading all day. When I read for myself, I don't like to analyze it. I just gobble up what I like.
Vickie Adkins - Author - The Tattered Pages
What I read depends on what kind of mood I'm in, or what's going on in my life at that particular time. I read a lot of self-help/inspirational around the beginning of the year. I figure it's a good time to learn something new about self-improvement.
I also love mysteries and especially those relating to forensic medicine. Patricia Cornwell is one of my favorite authors. I love the Scarpetta character and enjoy all the detail she gives for each case.
I rarely read a book because someone recommended it to me. Considering I'm an author, I guess that's not good. I follow certain authors, especially if I like their style. My favorites are Cornwell and Baldacci.
HB Marcus - Author
My reason is history. That is not the subject I read though.† One truth about human nature is that we learn from our mistakes. The very definition of insanity is the inability to learn from mistakes. I read the accumulation of human knowledge to keep from making mistakes. I don't need to read history to do that. I just have to flick on the news if I want to see the human race do stupid things. I also like to read the side panel of boxed foods to see what special guest chemical is going into my body.
Jay Kraxton - Author† - www.kraxton.com
I read a variety of genres, trying to find somebody really good...the kind of author who makes you go "WOW."
Laj - author
In my reading days, I devoured anything and everything because I've always loved the written word. Any writer, past or current, who created written words strung together in a fascinating way had me at their mercy. These days I need large print and a magnifying glass to read so I switched to writing quite some time ago. Since my writing is generated from the essence of personal hauntings and experiences, I don't want anyone else's thoughts influencing mine. Anything I read these days is out of curiosity about a given writer.
Mark Author - Simplicity - www.authorsden.com
Horror. It is visceral - it fuels the body. it is the consumption of verbal raw steak, lifting it from the plate with both hands and tearing off jagged clumps while the blood of the story rolls down your throat. feeling the beat of your heart, tasting the metallic tang of iron, respecting the amplified magnitude of your senses - brilliant sounds, dilated pupils sucking in every minute movement of shadow, tingling of the fingers with every turn of the page. the turning of your stomach as your eyes scan each page, sometimes dreading every word to come but powerless to avoid pushing onward, even if the only outcome is a sobbing gasp as the situation deteriorates further. throwing the book across the room only to scramble after it and hunt for your page as though it's a half-filled syringe of dope and you're nothing more than a junky, disgusted at yourself for your inability to give up the junk. knowing that there are eyes in the shadows, that the whispers in your dreams are real. These are the elements that make horror an integral component of every book shelf. it makes you feel alive, and if well written, perhaps a little mad as well.
G. WOODS - Author
I have noticed that some readers are interested in a limited style of works. Then there are those, like me, who read everything. On my book shelf you will find: books on physics, history, poetry, Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut, Garrison Keillor, Hemingway, I love the old Classics and Grafic Novels
And whenever I have the chance, I grab something I have never read before. I don't seem to like formula books, like mysteries and spy novels. (With all due respect to writers of such work.)† I have noticed that as you have CHICK FLICKS, in the movie theaters, you have chick books in the stores. Some novels that I have read, (The Honey Thief) are told in a way that I cannot relate too, as a guy. Then again there are GUY BOOKS, with guts, gun fights, sex and beer. I love road trip books, I just ordered 500miles published by AMERICA HOUSE : I read a lot, and just like going to the movies, some times I feel It was worth my money, sometimes not. But I also remember, just because I could not get into it (The Honey Thief) doesn't mean it wasn't good.
Kathy Bosworth - Author† "Your Mother Has Suffered a Slight Stroke" www.authorsden.com/kathybosworth
I read different things depending on my mood. Personally, I like non-fiction. I like to read a story and feel as if I know the author when I am done. I find that true stories can sometimes be more unbelievable than any fiction that my imagination can come up with.
However, I do read fiction for the escape. Gone With the Wind has always been my favorite and I have read it many times. For me, the first chapter is crucial. If I find myself struggling to get through the first chapter, I put it down and usually don't pick it up again. There is so much to chose from that I don't force myself to "get through" something that is too complicated or uninteresting for me. Maybe that makes me a lazy or simple-minded reader. But that is me.
If something is going on in my life that I don't understand or have many questions about, I will search libraries and book stores for self-help books. Whether the issues are with pregnancy, illness, divorce, mental illness, or even gardening....there is a book to help. Then there are times when nothing will do except a book that makes me laugh. Erma Bombeck could get a laugh out of me no matter how difficult my kids were.
So for me, it has always depended on where my life was going at the time. Sometimes you need an escape, sometimes an answer, sometimes a good laugh. But the bottom line for me has always been that first chapter. If I don't get hooked right off the bat, forget it. I think I have a very short attention span or something.
Lynn Barry - Author - Puddles - www.authorsden.com/lynnbarry
I have enjoyed many of the Oprah book club selections, probably because I like weird tales with tons of drama and conflicts up the wazoo.† Lately all I have read are books by PA authors. I committed to doing that to honor my PA pals and give support to a great bunch of authors I am getting to know via the message board and emailing.
Dave (Furry) Furlotte† - Author - "Contract for Deceit" and (TBR) "Common Foe"† -Authorsden
This is an easy question for me. I read books in several genres but the one genre that I've been focusing on for the past years is my own because I feel that I can learn from those who are successful at writing and I enjoy the stories.
The authors that I read include, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, W.E.B. Griffin, Stephen King. I've also read the classics authors such as Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, Leo Tolstoy and Shakespeare.
Chris_Cody/ C.C. Colee† - Authors - www.geocities.com/cc_colee† - The Widow Maker - †The Enchantress (coming soon)
As for us, well, Cody doesn't read much but when she does it's more in the way of non-fiction.
Me? I run from non-fiction. I fill the rest of that void. I'm into romances, who dunnits, suspense/thrillers, detective stores, and every now and then a good spill-tinglers horror story. Favorite authors are Patricia Cornwall, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, W.E.B. Griffin, Tony Hillerman, John Sandford, and bunch more. Of course, nowadays, most of my "reading" is done with Books-on-tape since I'm in my car a lot. When I'm home, I'm on the computer writing my part of our stories or editing what I've done.
Lorie Ham, author of MURDER IN FOUR PART HARMONY & THE TROUBLE WITH TENORS - www.LorieHam.com
I love cozies, or what some call traditional mysteries.† I don't like books that are too graphic or violent because I'm not reading to be shocked but to escape and enjoy the characters and the puzzle of the mystery.† I have found myself particularly drawn to mysteries that feature bookstore owning amateur sleuths; perhaps because I've always had a secret desire to own a bookstore.
Sharon - Author - www.authorsden.com/sharonhammonds
I read just about everything from Plato to Danielle Steel. I like Plato for his insight, he gives my brain a good workout. I love Harlem Renaissance authors, Dorothy West, 'The Wedding' Langston Hughes, 'Not Without Laughter' and Nella Larsen 'Quicksand' Shay Youngblood because she is so intense and David Baldacci for just great writing. And W.E.B Dubois for his enlightenment. And E.Lynn Harris for his sassy pages.† Needlessly to say, but I will say it anyway, I love BOOKS!!
Jennielynn - Author - Hoodwinked
My current faves to read are Patricia Cornwell--yup, I love the Kay Scarpetta character too, and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I've read lots of Kathleen Woodiwiss too. Guess I like variety. The only thing I don't read is horror--gives me nightmares.
Laura aka NW - Author - Birth Rites - www.authorsden.com/nightwild
What I read depends on my mood. I prefer horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy however, being a poet as well as an author I tend to read poetry and then branch out from there. I'll read the occasional romance novel, however it must include either native American, civil war or supernatural/paranormal story lines to hold my interest. And just for the record, I HATE ... no I loathe and despise the typical chick flick stuff. I save my crying for animal movies & books like White Fang, Phar Lap, Julie of the Wolves. Okay so I cried when Lee Killough killed off Garreth's gal in the beginning of Blood Games. Oh yeah, and when Claudia died in Interview. Horror, it's just comedy! Is it only I can see the beauty of the beast
Sandra Holmes McGarrity - Author - WOODY† - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I read for entertainment-Christian fiction, romance and historical. I like books with a happy ending. I don't necessarily like reality. If I wanted that, I would read a newspaper. I have enjoyed several of the Oprah books. I read books regarding the craft of writing and books involving the history of the south from 1900 -1950 for research for my books.
Charles - Author - A Better Tomorrow
I just finished THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen, which won the National Book Award and was an Oprah selection, and now I'm reading an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" by Camille Paglia. When I finish this I might read "The Hobbit" because my 11-year old daughter is going to and I've never read it so it would be fun to do it with her.
W. Bierer - Author - Itís Good Morning America/The Last Race e-mail:- WBierer@aol.com
I like to read anything new or old that grabs me in the first chapter, usually the first two pages. I really love Steinbeck. I would say he's my favorite and I find myself coming back to his works over and over.
L.B. Cobb - Author - Splendor Bay - www.lbcobb.com
One of my favorite authors is Tony Hillerman -- I love his Navajo police series. Other favorites include James Lee Burke (just about anything), Steve Martini, and Richard North Patterson. For a lighter read, I pick up Lillian Jackson Braun's "Cat Who" books; they make for great airplane reads.