Reading Round the Bend

Fiction and poetry are my major interests as a writer. I read tons of each. Recently, I read a book I found propped up on a display for Women’s History Month, Beautiful Dead Things: Poems, by Ada Limón, and fell in love with her work. But I also found recently a library book by Collin Tudge, The Bird. Yes, it’s a weighty, detailed book about birds. And I am reading again Simon Barnes, How to Be a Bad Birdwatcher. This one I own and have already read front to back but it’s too good to shelve yet. Oh, and there’s Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir, My Beloved World. So, I admit it, I’m promiscuous when it comes to reading genres.

But here’s the thing: disparate things connect. The most recent poem I took to my weekly critique group came from a line in Barnes’s book about the ways “birds make their living.” Bingo! I thought about the fact that the Denver Mint makes money and money is not the same as a living, at least not for me, as money and I are mere acquaintances rather that close friends.

Each of these writers has style, a distinctive voice, and a conversational tone that feels like they could be in the room with me. I copy into my notebook phrases from their books and use these quotes as prompts for those mornings when my head is full of torn paper. Thanks be to the librarians who feed my weird taste in books and to the authors who write what I don’t even know I need until I find it. I have a few pages left in My Beloved World and it’s almost lunch time. So excuse me while I devour the rest of the book and nibble on plums. And every book is a plum.

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