We’ve been on a fun break from the heavy stuff for a couple of days, and yesterday I asked what nonfiction you all are reading. I can’t comment on all your comments, so I’ll take a few at random:
“The C++ Programming Language” by Bjarne Stroustrup. I’ve actually gone through it a couple of times already, and I don’t think it qualifies as “reading”
Somehow, I get the feeling that’s not the kind of non-fiction book that you meant, Randy
Randy sez: No, that’s exactly what I meant. I was interested to hear what other interests you all have besides fiction, because that will inevitably find its way into your fiction. I’ve never read Stroustrup (it’s a classic) but I have several other books on C++, some of which I’ve read cover-to-cover a couple of times. I’m more of a fan of Java than C++, so I sympathize with you on having to read Stroustrup. (For you non-programmers, Bjarne Stroustrup invented the C++ language, which is now a standard language, very widely used.)
I’m reading James N Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Mystery. Does it count as non-fiction if it’s about writing fiction?
Randy sez: Yes, unless he’s lying. Frey’s book is excellent. I got a lot out of that one. Several of you are also reading Dwight Swain’s book, TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER. It’s interesting to me that people either love Swain or hate him. I don’t know why that is.
Currently I’m reading “Cattle-Lords and Clansmen” by Nerys Patterson. It’s a bit on the dry side but contains much of the historical information on Ireland that I have been unable to find elsewhere in my research, so I have to give credit where credit is due.
Randy sez: I’m always amazed at the incredible lengths novelists will go to in order to do their research. This sounds like one of those books that only a novelist would read. I have a ton of books just like it.
I’m reading Stein on Writing – bits and pieces at a time so I can understand the advice and apply it instead of breezing through the book.
Randy sez: This is another classic. I took a mentoring workshop with Sol Stein back in 1994, and now whenever I read his book, I hear his voice as I read. Sol is one of the great writing teachers of the last 50 years or so. He was an award-winning playwright, edited something like 1600 books, and wrote some best-selling fiction. A truly amazing guy.
By the way, if any of you have WAY too much money on your hands and want to go to a truly luxurious writer’s retreat, take a look at Misque, which is extraordinarily expensive but looks amazingly spiffy. It’s in Hawaii and takes only 20 participants. I’ve never been there and will probably never go, but one of my loyal readers runs the blog for it and she pointed me to the Misque web site. If you sign up, tell ’em I sent you. And send me pictures after it’s over — it sounds dazzling, based on what I saw at the web site.