Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

On Reading, Writing, and Blogging

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Folks, as you know, I’m celebrating the International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, started by writer/blogger Debdatta Desgupta Sahay of b00k r3vi3ws.in and celebrated by a wide variety of writers and bloggers worldwide (including yours truly). But because time was short when I joined the blog-hop initially, I didn’t talk about something Ms. Sahay and many other bloggers in this particular hop have…and that’s about why they love books.

Now, it’s time to change that.

So, why do I love books so much? Is it because they offer different ways of thinking than my own? Is it because of the stories they provide? Or is it simply that I love to see the different ways writers put words together?

Maybe it’s all of that. Or maybe it’s all of that plus more

Early in my life, I realized that I loved to read. Maybe this is because my grandmother read to me often as a youngster, as did my parents…I remember that by age four or so, I could read books that most kids didn’t pick up until third or fourth grade. By the time I was eight, I was reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries; by age ten, I’d graduated to Sherlock Holmes and baseball biographies (including of Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays, among others). By age twelve or so, I was reading about the civil rights struggles, and various histories…by age fourteen, I was reading Robert A. Heinlein’s TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE and had read through all of the Andre Norton books I could find, including her Witch World books, the three books set on Warlock, the Time Traders saga, and more.

And with every book I read, the more things I learned. I tried not to stop myself from reading anything I felt I needed to, which sometimes got me into a bit of a pickle (when I was in my early teens, and a boy I liked saw me reading OUR BODIES, OUR SELVES, I remember flushing bright red). But mostly, it taught me that every book, every genre, every author has something to say — and that every book, in its own way, is precious.

Now, there are books that, once read, I have never picked up again. (LORD OF THE FLIES was one of those. Ugh!) I’m human, and I have things I’m partial to…which, considering I grew up to be a science fiction, fantasy, and romance writer, tends to be a little more eclectic than most.

Still. I urge people to broaden their horizons. We writers need to read all sorts of things in order to formulate our stories. And sometimes, we write characters who are nothing whatsoever like us — yet we must do so with conviction, or the reader will tune out. How do we do that unless we’re willing to listen to others who don’t sound like us? Or at least read books that challenge our assumptions, and make us think about the choices we make, and why we make them?

But even if you’re not a writer, I still urge you to read outside your comfort zone. (Writer/blogger Susan Toy has a great set of memes generated from a recent insightful blog post of hers; the memes were created by Chris Graham, of TSRA PROMO GRAPHICS & VISUALS — otherwise known as Chris the Story-Reading Ape.** Chris runs a great blog, and offers many services to indie authors free of charge; if you haven’t been to his blog yet, you really should hightail it over there.)

In fact, here is a great visual put together by Chris G. on behalf of Susan Toy, using her words:

IMG_6627

As the author of some very different-than-usual books (including AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE), I have to hope that more people will start doing just that. And soon.

Anyway, I love reading. I also love to write, especially when the words are flowing and the story’s making sense…and as a blogger, I’ve enjoyed getting a chance to meet people from all over the world.

That is the main reason why I signed up for the International Authors’ Day blog-hop, and it’s why I hope you’ll continue to enjoy reading my blog if it’s the first time you’ve ever stopped by.

Happy Sunday, folks! Keep hopping along…and remember, if you haven’t done so yet, you can get my military SF story “To Survive the Maelstrom” for free as an e-book from Amazon for another day or so, give or take a few.

—–

**I hate to admit this, but half the time, I write “Chris the Story-Telling Ape,” even though Chris Graham uses TSRA — or “The Story-Reading Ape” — as part of his own company name! Fortunately for me, Chris does not seem to mind this…one of these days, Chris, I’ll get it right. (Starting today, I hope.)

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