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Posts Tagged reading

Fiction Vs Non-Fiction: What’s your fancy?

Hanging BooksMy reading pattern lately has included reading fiction and non-fiction book simultaneously. It’s something I’ve never done before. I’ve always been a one book at a time reader, but the last ten or twelve books I’ve read have been six non-fiction with six fiction. Oh and an audio book being thrown into the mix for good measure, now I’ve signed up to Audible (more on that in a later post).

To qualify non-fiction for a second. What I’m referring to here is a non-fiction book. Newspapers, journals, editorials, etc. all count but they tend to be pieces of writing with a smaller amount of dedicated reading time.

In the past, I’ve attempted to read multiple fiction books and found it a little distracting and at times even a bit frustrating. Distracting, because I find I’m thinking of one story while trying to read another and at times frustrating because if one story trumps (sorry to use that awful word guys!) another story, then I’ll want only to read the better of the two. I hate leaving a book unread. This is why I read through Birdsong… just wasn’t my cup of tea, sorry (o;

These are the reasons I’ve lived the one book at a time motto. Non-fiction books have been making their way into my book collection and onto my kindle. When I had a look at what I had, I thought I better start reading them, so I cracked one open and began. During this initial break away from fiction, I realised I needed something imaginative to peruse so I grabbed a fiction book from my to be read pile and began that also. What I found was a surprise. I found reading a non-fiction book, something related to facts, knowledge, and learning made me focus, think deeper and enjoy more of my fiction book of choice.

Right and Left BrainMy thinking is that this is feeding the right side of my brain what it needs with non-fiction given that it is the logical, rational and ordered thinking side while the left side of my brain enjoys art, free and random thinking and imagination. It would make sense until I found a report regarding a research study that has started the ball rolling on debunking this theory.

Anyway, I’ve found benefits to reading both simultaneously as opposed to reading multiple fiction books or multiple non-fiction books at the same time.

Let me know what you think or if you have a preference?

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4 Reasons Why We Should Read Every day!

little girl reading.pngReading is something we learn from a very early age. We begin by reciting out ABC’s then moving onto simple stories before we finally open up our first book. It’s an activity that unfortunately doesn’t last for some. Where many become avid readers, which is great, some fall by the wayside and don’t pick up a book or switch on a reading device for a long time, if at all.

So in this post I’d like to lay bare the benefits to reading some may not automatically think of when they consider sitting down with a good story.

Reading can make you live longer
In a study Health and Retirement study, it was found that adults 50 years and older who read for only 3.5 hours a week were likely to live two years longer than those who didn’t and were 23% less likely to die.

Fiction can improve empathy
Keith Oatley of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto found those who read fiction, especially literary fiction, outscored those in a test of empathy than those who did not read fiction. In his paper ‘Fiction: Simulation of Social Worlds‘ Oatley found that engagement in the story, which includes the reader becoming emotionally involved and making inferences regarding the story and meeting complex characters which we may not meet in out day to day lives, people can improve their understanding of others.

Reducing stress through reading
A piece from The Telegraph newspaper reports Dr. David Lewis of the University of Sussex found that reading could reduce stress by up to 68%. After reading for only 6 minutes, subjects of Dr. Lewis’ study lowered their heart rate and eased muscle tension. They found that stress levels were lower than when they started the study. This reduction in stress was shown to be more efficient and quicker than, going for a walk (42% reduction), playing video games (21% reduction), drinking a cup of tea or coffee (54% reduction) and listening to music (61% reduction).

Audio books give a boost to gym sessions
Something I’ve found to work on a personal level is bringing a good audio book to the gym. Listening to music as you blast the calories is one thing but an audio book can suck you into its plot and block out everything else. I’ve pushed through more pain and discomfort by focusing on a story than I have with music. No research to provide for this one, apart from my own (o:

Image by Poodar Chu

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Reading Pratchett and Writing Crime.

pablo (17)
This week I’ve been busy getting back into the writing swing of things and attempting to read a little more.

Writing is going pretty well. Book 2 is running along smoothly and learning so much about social media by working the the 30 day Book Marketing challenge as mentioned in my previous post (Online Book Marketing)

Twitter has become something I really enjoy using now, thanks to the great information gleaned from the challenge. Even decided to give Instagram a go (davidjdelaney1 if anybody wants to connect)

My other goal this week is to read more. I’ve fallen into a non-reading rut and find my imagination is shot without it. So I hit a couple of second hand book stores and grabbed a few books to line up (I love browsing through secondhand books, some great early and unique editions to find). Picked up Terry Pratchett’s ‘Wintersmith’, which I’m reading at the moment, about 25% through. I’m enjoying it a lot. The late, great writer had a wonderful way with words and can bring a smile to your face most of the time. I picked up Hugh Howey’s ‘Sand’ novel. This is such a good find as it shows how far reaching an author, who started as an indie, can reach. Picking up his book in a charity shop in Dublin city center was pretty nice. Lastly, I found a copy of Dean Koontz ‘The City’. I’ve heard good things about it and I’m a Koontz fan so it’s win win.

Short one this week but if there is anything to add I’ll be sure to pop up another post.

What have you been reading and what have you picked up secondhand that’s made you smile?

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New Country, Book Recommendations and the Need to Write Again!

Blank notepad over laptop and coffee cup on office wooden table

Time has flown by too quickly (again!).

It’s been four weeks since I’ve made my move back to Ireland and don’t really know where the time has gone. It’s great being back though a little weird that I’m not getting back on an airplane to Australia, but I can’t complain.

I’ve written very little though over the last four weeks. It’s been pretty abysmal with regards to word count but I plan on changing that. There are two books that need to be written. One, the next installment of Dean Cornell’s series and the next is something completely different. Both are roughly a quarter the way there so there’s still a fair bit of work to do.

The Vanishing has managed to gain a few more reviews which I am delighted about. Anyone who is reading this and reviewed the book gets a big thank you from me. Reviews on Good Reads and Amazon.com have been positive and the book continues to sell. It’s even managed a few reviews elsewhere in the Amazon universe which was a surprise to me.

The one thing I have learned this week is not to let things slip so easily. I’ve completely neglected writing, reading, blogging and simply keeping in contact with people.

A note to self will be to do better next time (o:

Lastly, the little reading I have done over the last few weeks I’ll recommend below.

Mothers: Book One of the Invisibles Series by Michelle Read.
This is a great Urban Fantasy read. This is a genre I’ve never really explored and from reading Michelle’s first book in the series its a genre I’m going read a little more into. Great story here and well recommended.

Adaption: Book Two of the Empty Bodies Series by Zach Bohannon.
Zach’s first book was awesome and I really started to get into the characters. I’m also not a massive walking dead fan either which is a testament to how well Zach has build the story world. I started Adaption and with half of it read, I can say that it’s as enjoyable as book one.

The reading list I have is growing and growing but on top of that pile is:

Black Star Canyon Season 2 by CC Wall.
Black Flame (Death Pope 2) by John Oakes.
Dark Vanishings: Post Apocalyptic Horror Book 1 by Dan Padavona.
Fire Up Your Fiction: Jodie Renner.

Right, that’s enough from me. Now it’s time to get writing!

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Reading: A necessity for a Writer

reading
Reading, whether it be novels, news, blogs or any other form is incredibly important for writers and non writers alike. There’s no denying the adage that, ‘to be a writer, you must first be a reader.’ Living vicariously through fiction is not only stress reducing and entertaining but can be really educational. Not having tried this but, I’m pretty sure Dan Brown has taught me to navigate Paris, Rome and Washington through his books (o:

On a more serious note through reading is something that, as a writer, is paramount when it comes to learning the craft and judging where your skill level sits compared to many of the prolific and great novelist. I don’t compare myself directly because that would be depressing but I look to see what I feel I’ve gotten to grips with whether it be characterization, plot twists, story arc or the myriad of other literary aspects that go into developing a story of any length. This analysis teaches me where I need to focus my learning efforts.

Some writers read at a phenomenal pace. One recent response to a blog post I read said the commenter read 6-7 books a week. I would love to be able to do this but, sadly, I’m not. I get through, on average 1-2 a week of varying lengths. This is on top of online reading including blogs, sites and other creative writing pieces such as online magazines, short stories and poetry. All of this goes into making me a better writer by teaching me what constitutes the good, the bad and the ugly of writing in general.

In regards to genre of novel or story, I feel it’s beneficial to move around. For most of my teenage years and beginning of my twenties I only read horror. I couldn’t get enough of it. Eventually though, nothing shocked me unless is was written for shock value alone and if so, I wouldn’t bother reading it anyway. Once I found I needed something else I decided to read other genres and I think I’m much better for it. Although I haven’t always enjoyed the read, I feel I gleaned some knowledge about the craft of writing from it. The knowledge may be subconscious and not overtly acknowledged but I feel it is still influential.

This leads me to identify the way a reader reads vs the way a writer reads. As a reader I simply want to be swept up in the story, to lose myself for a while. As a writer I want the same as a reader but I also want to look more deeply into how the author created their work. Open the hood to see what’s underneath. Sometimes this is easy, most of the time its difficult and I find I need to know the authors work well in order to do this effectively.

So what do you read and how often or how much? Also do you read across genres or stick to a particular one?

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