You may remember that I gave up reading fiction for Lent. Forty novel-less, light-fiction-free days. No sagas, no historical fiction, no adventures, no suspense/thriller/mystery escapist fluff. It was at times a challenge, but I've been reading many interesting books all the same: 'The Hermitage within' for my spiritual growth (very challenging but very fruitful); humorous collections by Nora Ephron and Dave Barry (entertaining, yet educational, craft-wise); several books on gardening; and, the shooting scripts of some of my favourite movies like Sense and sensibility, Good Will Hunting, Erin Brockovitch, Thank you for smoking, Gosford Park.
Now, however, the forty days are over, and I am free once more to browse the stacks and stacks of fiction 'out there'. Where to begin? What to choose first? Not only are there millions of new-to-me 'modern' books to tackle, there are the classics I have shamefully not yet become acquainted with (I don't want to admit to them just yet) and there are several on my own shelves (or in boxes) at home that I have either not gotten round to, or really really want to read for perhaps the 27th time.
So, I have come up with a plan, one which in some ways combines all the above. There is a very fine writer by the name of Michael D. O'Brien who has written a wonderful series of books as well as several stand-alone novels. Some I have read, some I haven't. They are contemporary (written in our time) but they are already classics, and five of the six are sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me so I can begin the project immediately with what I have on hand.
I am very excited at the prospect. I anticipate gleaning a great deal from them, from the enjoyment of good stories, to observing a master craftsman's fine work, and hopefully receiving some inspiration for my own writing. When I consciously decided to give writing a try more than a year ago now (not just scribbling and jotting as I have been for a lifetime) I thought I was a fiction writer. In the attempt however, it has turned out to be a very great challenge, and it doesn't come naturally to me. I've had better luck with articles and even poetry. So, perhaps I shall treat my fiction reading as an apprenticeship - I want to learn from the best.
If there is a fiction writer, or a novel you really enjoy, please drop me a line - I'd love to hear about it.