This year, for the first time since starting this blog, I didn’t blog about observing Lent. Longtime friends and readers will know that I usually give up chocolate and fiction for Lent, but this year, I sort of skipped Lent (although I did tell people I was giving up whining and complaining for Lent, but I kept forgetting about that). Frankly, this winter and spring have had enough hardship without needing to import any for spiritual discipline, and I didn’t think I’d make it through without chocolate. As for my reading choices, for the last couple of months they were dictated mostly by things I wanted or needed to read while writing the latest draft of That Forgetful Shore.
I guess rushing to finish that book on deadline was a kind of discipline, not necessarily a spiritual or Lenten one, but it definitely narrowed the focus on my interests, including my reading. As usual when doing research, I “looked up” a lot of things and consulted a lot of books, as well as sources other than books — old newspapers being my all-time favourite. But there were some books I wanted to read in their entirety in order to get the flavour of a particular place and time — and other books that I didn’t need to read, sometimes that weren’t even wholly relevant to my research, but that just reached out and sucked me in.
For anyone who’s curious about what a writer reads while she’s researching a novel that’s set in Newfoundland and in England in the early 20th century, I posted reviews of a dozen of my favourites over at Compulsive Overreader. Check ’em out.