We’re delighted to welcome Kristen Wolf to the blog today. Kristen is on a tour with CLP Blog Tours to promote her new book The Way and is kindly sharing a blog post.
A Ravenous Reader – Kristen Wolf
I’ve been a ravenous reader since a very young age. Both of my parents were readers and instilled in me an early love of books.
I definitely find a difference between books I read for pleasure and books I read to “learn” the art and craft of writing.
Being an English major, I would have to credit all the “greats,” though as I grew older I found myself reaching outside the established canon—diving into Native American literature, African literature, mythology, women’s literature, poetry, stage plays, screenplays and so on. I also read a great deal of science books and articles. For me, nothing is as thrilling, or reverent, as seeking to know the true nature of things… of discovering more and more about the world from which we come. And the possibilities we have yet to explore!
It may be because of this interest in future potentials that I became drawn to novels that explored “big ideas” rather than just describing human experience. I often seek out books that offer alternative paradigms, upend assumptions, portray imagined worlds, or imagine life in utterly new ways.
Writers who, for me, do this very well include: Jeanette Winterson, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Mann, Mary Oliver, Haruki Murakami, Stephen King, Hayao Miyazaki, Isabelle Allende, William Gibson and Ursula Le Guin, to name a few.
If I had to admit to a “secret weapon,” it would be poetry. I once heard a writer describe poetry as providing the colors a writer puts on her palette. And I absolutely agree with that description. Whenever I feel in need of inspiration, or need to clean my spectacles, as it were, I turn to poetry. Sometimes even just a verse or two are enough to get my blood pumping. It’s the precision of language, the beauty of thought, and the sheer attentiveness to life, that always capture me and make me eager to get back to the page.