From Manchester to St. Augustine
In preparing for a March address to our Teen Takeover staff on writing careers, I put in few minutes on the connection between our reading and writing lives.
Reading good writing helps improve our own writing.
I’m going to share the books in my current reading stack with the teen staff — about 20 high schoolers who write for the York Daily Record/Sunday News.
Today, that stack includes:
— William Manchester’s 800-plus-page biography on Gen. Douglas MacArthur, “American Caeser.” (I always try to have a non-fiction book going, and this one has been going for months.)
— “The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor.” (Much of my reading is non-fiction, mainly on historical topics. Historians aren’t always great writers. So, I try to have quality fiction in my stack to help that.)
–“The Confessions of St. Augustine.” (Every stack should include a work to feed the soul. On deck, Martin Luther’s “Tabletalk.”)
— Leo Motter’s “Haunted Places in York County, Pennsylvania.” (The stack must include a local history book. On deck, noted labor leader Dick Boyd’s “The Bridge.”)
I also have Joe Maldonaldo’s poetry collection “hmmm …‿ as a temporary part of my stack. Poetry isn’t particularly interesting to me, but it won’t hurt me to stretch myself.
I often read in staggered fashion. For example, since I’m nearing the end of “The Confessions,” I’ll spend more time on that and then catch up on the others when I’m finished.
I think variety in one’s reading experience is important. Then, it’s fun to connect the dots, to think across disciplines.
But where does one gain time to enhance one’s reading life?
One suggestion: Watch TV sparingly!