Reading: Armchair Travel for Writers

I believe that before one can write with genuine understanding of the nature of the common experience of writers or a community of writers, one must read—everything—novels, best sellers, documentaries, biographies, mysteries, true stories, short stories, poetry, classics, journals, plays, history, philosophy, psychology, newspapers, and magazines. I learned to be an avid reader as a child and have continued through adulthood. I have acquired the ability to travel the world over, through time and space, happiness and tears—through reading—that marvelous gift.

The places I have been, characters I have known, plots I have unraveled have brought the greatest of joys to my life and formed the basis of my creative writing experiences. Exciting as a foreign trip to Egypt or Rome might be, there is no place more powerful, more full of meaning, beauty, turmoil, understanding, gladness, than my reading (and writing) room.

Favorite authors of fiction: Margaret Atwood, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Heather Neff, Thomas B. Cook, Toni Morrison, Ann Patchett and Sue Monk Kidd. Other favorites from earlier years: Charles Dickens, The Bronte’s, Daphne du Maurier, Anya Seton, Susan Howatch, James Michener, Sidney Sheldon, Nancy Mairs, Hyemeyhosts Storm, Garrison Keillor.

Favorite classic playwrights: Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Henrik Ibsen.

Favorite poet: Emily Dickinson is still my favorite poet of all time!

Favorite biographies, autobiographies and journals: May Sarton, Maya Angelou, Virginia Woolf, Madeline L’Engle, and Anderson Cooper.

Of course, I am continually adding to these lists!


  1. I wish I had more time to read!

  2. Reading is such fun! But I know what you mean about time. I, too, could use a longer day every day to enjoy all the fun things I want to do!

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