Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things I've Unintentionally Learned From Books

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we take a little break from writing to discuss reading. If you're a writer, you're a voracious reader (or you should be, because one cannot write without reading). I'm going to share a few things I've learned over the years through reading books, research when editing books, and proofreading jobs. Buckle in and let's go!

As any of you who've followed my blog for any length of time know, one of my favorite authors, who's now deceased, is Alice Bordchart. She's the author of The Night of the Wolf trilogy and a series she never got to finish (that ties in with the others) called The Dragon Queen. Because I love book covers, here's one of them:

What I learned from this series: Caesar was a vile man. His wife, Calpurnia, was a psychic. Why Greeks were sent to the Colosseum to fight. How Romans and Greeks interacted. What the land looked like back then. And oh, so much more!

From the other series, I learned: Guinevere was the one Arthur needed to save him from his mother. How wolves in the wild interact with one another. Much history about wars that erupted over Europe.

Now, not only was Alice an expert on Ancient Greece and Rome, she's also the sister of the famous Anne Rice. I didn't realize I was learning at the time. But when asked questions in World History I, I knew the answers because I'd read Ms. Bordchart's books.

Another one of my favorite authors is Rick Riordan. From his Percy Jackson series, I've learned a ton about mythology and Greek and Roman beliefs. A new book comes out in October in that series and I'm super stoked! From his Kane Chronicles series, I've learned about Egyptian gods and goddesses. You wouldn't believe how much of it is discussed even today!

Master of medical suspense Robin Cook has taught me about DNA alteration, how insurance companies are raping the consumer, and how medical professionals sometimes get around claim restrictions. One of my favorites by him is Chromosome 6.

This is one that's never hit the mainstream. He was the genius behind Contagion and Invasion, too!

From Cornelia Funke, I learned a little imagination can take you places you never dreamed, and that most readers actually fall into their stories (and I wasn't alone in this).

An Indie book I'm reading, titled Looping in Limbo, is teaching me so much about golf it's unreal! And I'm loving it!

Now, from some of my own writing, proofreading, and editing.

I learned more about Genghis Khan than you could shake a stick at when writing Yassa. Never one to care much about vicious tyrants, I found him to be extremely intriguing and unearthed a strange truth about his life: He had to fight hard to get what he ended up with, and it may have all been for the love of a woman.

When I edited Canopy, for Crystal Lee, I learned a lot about construction of buildings and what it was like to be in the head of a fifteen-year-old girl.

Inzared: Queen of the Elephant Riders, by Linda Leander, forced me to research the circus, the early 1900's, and Gypsies when I did the edit. I learned a lot about snack food and when it was invented. For example, did you know popcorn wasn't a popular treat until the Great Depression hit in the 1920's? Neither did I!

I've also learned about Japanese culture, what it meant to be a Samurai, and how the mind of men in that country work. Through the edit for Chasing Memories, I did research on Wiccans, Yellowstone park, and Colorado. And when I proofread Sixty Days of Grace, I learned a lot about raising a child with Bi-Polar disorder and how to be thankful for each and every day I'm given.

When I wrote The Bird, I found out there's a cool place in Pennsylvania called Ringing Rocks National Park where, if you hit the stones with a hammer, they ring.

My daddy always told me reading was a waste of my time. But, without books, how would I have had the chance to learn all these wonderful things? Sure, I could sit down and read the dictionary; but learning it through a story is so much better. Either way, I'm reading.

So, when people tell you to put down that book because it's rotting your brain, tell them you're studying and to stay out of it. After all, you never know what gems of knowledge a novel may unearth.

Besides, books like Pride and Prejudice tend to change us into the best versions of ourselves.

What have you unintentionally learned from a book?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


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