In The Writer's World

Last week, gentle readers, I shared with you Portland attorney and book blogger Gilion Dumas’s suggestions for how to read up to 100 books in a year. Today’s missive is a continuation of that discussion.

We commence with #5, Take Pot Luck. “Let someone else pick a book for you,” Dumas said. The Book Passage web site offers signed first editions of its monthly book choice. How nice for collectors! Poisoned Pen Press will send you a hot-off-the-presses mystery of the month. lists 10 new books per month that librarians across the country love. And there’s still good old Book of the Month Club.

I particularly like to find books in the Sunday New York Times Books section. My other favorite inspiration is a trip to my nearest indie book store, Annie Bloom’s Books, to read staff favorites picks. And, in my book club, in addition to the book we discuss each month, we always share what other books we’ve read and pass them around to other members.

6. Accept a challenge. By this, Dumas suggests that we “enter the secret world of bloggers”. Lots of book reviews, tons of opportunities to be interactive, if that’s your thing. I check out Dumas’s Rose City Reader almost every day, and have gotten excellent tips on what to read from her. She is a blogger who offers prizes for such contests as her European Reading Challenge, among others. There also is a site called Novel Challenges for this sort of thing.

7. Buy local. My favorite of all. Yes, Portland is a book lover’s paradise–one of the best and most supported public libraries in the country, a mecca for authors great and small, a climate that is conducive to plenty of reading…. Dumas herself is a great supporter of local authors. In fact, three of us were guests at her talk at the Town Club last week (she is pictured at the left with Susan Winkler, author of Portrait of a Woman in White). The plentiful opportunities to interact with local authors and publishers at Portland’s many book and author events provide the perfect stimulus to encourage additional reading.

8. Grab a gadget. Even with the proliferation of e-readers, some of us, myself included, don’t have one. But, for those of you who didn’t know this, there is a kindle app available for smart phones!!! News I can use. How many of us have been stuck in an examination room in one of those awful backless gowns, and left for an age? How gratifying to know that a book can be as near as one’s mobile phone. (Just don’t ask me how to download the blasted thing.)

9. Read with your ears. Long commute? Multnomah County Library offers instant downloads, if you just know how to do it. (Again, don’t ask me about this.) My daughter, who commutes 50 miles per day, just subscribed to and is racing through the Hunger Games series. She could never find time to read, and now she’s found a happy solution.

10. Write a review. This technique really gets me in gear because I am, after all, a writer and love to share my discoveries. “It makes your reading more intentional,” Dumas said. My destination of choice is Goodreads. I then post the reviews to my Facebook page. Knowing I will write a review makes me read more deeply and notice more about writing technique as well as  story. Dumas mentioned that Powell’s has a review site, although I haven’t checked it out.

Happy reading y’all. Let me hear of your reading progress as you embrace your own personal reading challenges.


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  • Thanks again for sharing my tips! And amplifying with good ideas of your own. I really should turn my presentation into blog posts of my own, doncha’ think? I am supposedly a blogger after all. 🙂

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