Reading, Writing, Thoreau, Soccer Moms, Kindle Giveaway - oh my!

I’m participating, along with several other bloggers, in Cathryn Grant’s Suburban Noir Fiction and Kindle Giveaway. Lucky winners will receive a FREE copy of Cathryn’s debut novel, The Demise of the Soccer Moms, OR a FREE Wi-Fi Kindle pre-loaded with the novel.

My post today about my love for reading and writing is part of the contest. Read it, read the contest rules below, and then leave a comment on my post to enter the Giveaway. Good luck!


I’ve always felt inadequate around Top Ten lists. I’ve never been able to hone in on just ten of anything and declare them my all-time favorites. There are simply too many “tops” to pick from in most categories, and “it depends” turns out to be first on most of my lists. Mood, time of day, what I had for lunch — they all influence my choices, which can change faster than coastal weather.

Same thing with developing a short list of why I love to read and write. It depends — there are SO MANY possible reasons fighting for top ten status on my Literary Love List.

Cathryn Grant, indie author of the just-released Demise of the Soccer Moms, and Linda Cassidy Lewis, indie author of soon-to-be-released The Brevity of Roses, had a wonderful conversation yesterday on Linda’s blog. You can read it here. Cathryn talked about the pull of examining “lives of quiet desperation” and how that pull drives some of her writing.

Yeah, I get it. Even those of us with pretty great lives feel that quiet desperation at some point(s) in our lives. Reading gives us a chance to explore that desperation through the lives of characters we can relate to – sometimes with a happy face resolution, sometimes with a resulting pile of dead bodies, sometimes with, well, no resolution at all.

Reading provides an opportunity to get out of our own skins and into someone else’s. A good writer makes that step from one skin to another seamless. A great writer makes it inevitable.

Getting inside another person’s head is just one of the reasons I love to read. I like to think it helps me understand human nature a tad better. Not just the desperation, but the aspirations, hopes, doubts, fears, loves that drive us.

Getting inside another head is a great draw for me as a writer, too. Especially when that other head, that other character, takes risks I would never attempt on my own.

I have more reasons, of course, for loving to read and write, and they are always changing.

But enough about me. How about YOU?

What compels you to read? To write?

Enquiring minds want to know.


Enter the Suburban Noir contest for the chance to win a copy of “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. The grand prize is a Wi-Fi Kindle. Rules for the Kindle Giveaway:

1. Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, comment on any one or all of the 7 participating blogs to get one entry per comment. Limit of one comment per blog for a possible total of 7 entries.

2. Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, tweet any one or all of the participating blogs to get one entry per tweet. Limit of one tweet per blog for a possible total of 7 entries. Tweets must have @CathrynGrant so I can track them.

3. Participants can have a total of 14 entries between commenting on blogs and tweeting.

4. Ten people will win their choice of an eBook or paperback copy of Cathryn Grant’s Suburban Noir Thriller, “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. One additional person will win a Wi-Fi Graphite Kindle (valued at $139) pre-loaded with a copy of “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. Please note the paperback copy will not be available until March. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator.

The schedule for entering at participating blogs is listed at Cathryn’s blog.

61 comments to Reading, Writing, Thoreau, Soccer Moms, Kindle Giveaway – oh my!

  • Enjoyed your post, Natasha. And thanks for the link to my blog.

    For many years I only stepped into another skin by reading. It’s an interesting transition from reading to writing as a way to live those other lives for a while, isn’t it?

    Honestly, can anyone make it through life sane without an escape mechanism? I chose reading, but I guess non-readers do the same through TV or movies. And if you’re stranded on an island, you invent conversations with a soccer ball. I prefer the variety of characters in reading and writing. 😉

  • First, thanks for giving attribution to the quote, I was lax in that area!

    I’ve always loved to read because I love seeing into other lives, other minds. It allows us to see how we’re the same and how we’re different. As much as I love movies, it doesn’t allow me quite the same access to another person’s life.

    • Natasha

      I lived near Walden Pond for many, many years…

      I agree that there’s something more intimate about the relationship you can develop with a character in a book than one in a movie.

  • I have ALWAYS loved to read. Reading is joyful on so very many levels. Reading gives me the opportunity to escape, learn, experience, empathize, love, hate, commiserate, rejoice, condemn, laugh and cry, to name a few of its gifts.

    I’m in love with words. Reading regularly from an early age has given me the confidence to try writing. I adore forming them with a pen on paper and with my fingertips on my keyboard. I appreciate the great quantity of words to choose from when I wish to express myself.

    Reading opens doors. Until I take my last breath, I want to always make that happen.

  • Great Post, Natasha! I discovered the joys of reading in high school. I didn’t read much as a child, neither of my parents are readers–more TV watchers. It took watching a movie based on a book to get me into the library. But it was the ‘escape’ factor that hooked me. Later I started writing for the same reason, I liked the escape. I like to create the characters and see when kind of trouble I can get the into.

    I try to be the opposite of my parents, encouraging my kids to read and write whenever they can.

  • […] February 6 – Natasha, who blogs at Nancy Drew Too and is in the final drafts of a mystery novel, will blog about loving to read and […]

  • Thanks for stopping by all, I’ve entered you in the contest. Winners will be announced on my blog Feb. 14. (See the link under my name.)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by three104, Cathryn Grant. Cathryn Grant said: #reading, #novels, #ebooks, #soccermoms, #Thoreau and a #kindle giveaway. […]

  • For me reading is more than relational. I don’t like things handed to me on a platter, so I have a hard time watching TV and movies – it has to be real quality material that doesn’t spell everything out for its audience. The only thing I can watch with any regularity (which is pretty irregular for me) is the news. Facts are good. Fiction is a whole other matter.

    Glad I stumbled into this blog Giveaway – I’m finding some really fine material here! And you have a nice community going. Not nearly as scary as the real suburban world. 😉

  • First time visitor here. What can I say? The Kindle contest drew me out. LOL! It’s an intriguing post, Natasha. Thanks.

    What compels me to read? Since I’m a very visual learner, reading has always been one of my primary methods of receiving information. However, it’s also a great joy to me. I love stories, I love reading mysteries and Westerns and love stories, and I would not be a whole person if I didn’t get to read fiction each day.

    What compels me to write? The voices in my head, the eager readers browbeating me to finish the next book, the satisfaction of creating a well-crafted story about people dealing with adversity in trying times and surmounting those difficulties to become stronger, better people.

  • Dee

    What compels me to read is to delve into someone else’s life and to witness character development right before my eyes. I love seeing how mere words can paint pictures, towns, cities, personality. Just amazing! 🙂

  • DS

    Every time that I read a post, such as this, that demands one to look at the reason(s) that they enjoy doing something, I cringe at the thought of so much introspective thought. This year was set to the side to live and enjoy. I’m trying (and failing) not think about WHY or IF my reasons for doing anything, from the miniscule to the grandiose, are good enough. But since you asked, are a friend, and I try to support you when I can, I’ll answer the dang question. LOL

    I don’t read so that I can get into the mind of the characters portrayed in the story. I read to survey the mind of the author. How do they think? What kind of mind would/can see the world through those eyes? Are they searching? Hoping? Dreaming? Escaping? Why do they see the human condition in the way that they do? Are their thoughts, as splayed across the pages of their novels, a legitimate representation of who they are, or, are they trying to appear to be something different?

    I’m one of those people who read not to dive into the mind of the character, but to analyze the mind of the author. But that shouldn’t make anyone who reads this feel the least bit paranoid. 🙂

    • Natasha

      Yeah, DS, but would you come over to my house for a game of darts?? heh heh.

      I’m always interested in what sometimes seems to be a disconnect between an author’s persona and the characters s/he creates. Like listening to Joyce Carol Oates a couple of months ago and thinking how witty, personable and NORMAL she seemed to be – until she started reading her own stuff to the audience.

      • DS

        Do you remember CAVEMAN’S MOSIAC? I’ve been editing of late and discovered that I’m very comfortable writing and reading Cesar’s part and even identified with Sonya on many levels. The character that caused me the most grief to face was that of the innocent and codependent Alice. What does that say about me? Am I the demented killer? Or am I the minor of an evil capitalist who takes advantage of artists’ insecurities? In the end, maybe I am Alice and that is why I’m afraid to face her naivety?

        • Natasha

          I’m glad you haven’t given CM up! I think I’ve complained on my blog that the character in Tap Dancing who is giving me the most problems is wimpy, fuddy-dud, risk-aversive Becca — the character who is closest to me in Real Life.

          Well, if you’d like to be the demented killer, I’m happy to challenge you to a game of darts.

          Or something like that.

    • Wow, DS, I’m not paranoid at all after your comment 😉
      I can see why you took some time off from introspection, you have some pretty deep thoughts.

  • What compels me to read and what compels me to write are pretty much the same things. It’s being part of a human conversation about the experience of being human that has been going on since Beowulf. We’re analytical beings. We’re also afraid of being alone. Reading and writing give us the chance to analyze ourselves and each other, and to realize that, unique as we are, we have lots in common.

  • Natasha

    I’m trying to think of something witty to say about Beowulf. I can’t.

    Thanks for stopping by. I also like to analyze myself in the context of (some) authors and characters.

  • Hi everyone, Thanks for stopping by, I’m all caught up adding you to the contest.

  • Hi. Thanks for putting on this contest. I write mostly Internet content because of my commitment to help create positive change in this generation. Mostly, I love to read inspirational books or non-fiction books that help me learn and grow, so that I may improve my life and help others.

  • Ooo, I love this:
    Reading provides an opportunity to get out of our own skins and into someone else’s. A good writer makes that step from one skin to another seamless. A great writer makes it inevitable.

    As a reader, those are the stories that I read again and again. As a writer, THAT’s the kind of writing I strive for in my stories.

  • “Getting inside another person’s head is just one of the reasons I love to read. I like to think it helps me understand human nature a tad better.”

    So true Natasha. Our lives are so individual and sometimes so sheltered that we don’t see what’s going on around us–even when we’re surrounded by it. I too love the way books open up the world to us in that way, and how I begin to imagine myself in those character’s lives…if just for a moment. Great insights! Thank you!

  • Hi everyone, I’m all caught up with your entries to the contest!

  • Wonderful post AND comments! Natasha, I really like what you have to say about why you love reading. I can’t remember not loving to read. For me, it has been an escape, a way to try on different selves and lives, and a way to learn new things. IMHO, who needs recreational drugs when you can read?! 😉 P.S. I don’t live very far from Walden Pond myself.

  • I think this is number 5 for me???

    Good luck with the contest. I hope you get a ton of exposure. Contests are random that way. Sometimes mine do really, really well. Other times they limp along.

  • Stacey Santos

    I love to read about what happenes in real life. I myself would love to write a book about the struggles in life my family and I go through due to the fact that my son has Autism. Also I hope to win the Kindle so I will be able to read more books on the go =)

  • Hi Beth, I also loved what Natasha had to say … I also can’t remember not loving to read.

  • Kons

    Nice post, Natasha.
    I hope to win a Kindle to I can continue reading on the bus. Currently, im buying paperback books online (better deals) and shipping them here (free shipping).
    I’ll be sharing this on twitter. Cheers!

  • Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for stopping by … a lot of people would identify with your struggles, which would be a great topic for writing.

  • […] Sunday, February 6 – Natasha, at Nancy Drew Too. […]

  • Funny you should ask “What makes you write?” (Okay, technically I shouldn’t put that in quotes) because I just sent an e-mail to my writing-friend with “why we write” in the subject line. It was a quote from one of Carol Joyce Oates’s essays, but it resonates enough to thicken my throat every time.

    “Art [and by this I mean writing] is a means of memorialization of the past; a recording of a rapidly vanishing world; a means of exorcising, at least temporarily, the ravages of homesickness. To speak…[and] thereby to assure its permanence; to honor those we’ve loved and learned from, and must outlive.”

    I know this is not literally true outside of journals or memoir, but I still get that easing of the “homesick” ache when I can spend time in my imaginary country.

  • Jeezus, Natasha! 54 comments! I guess Kindle Giveaway is a worthy blog post title. 🙂

  • Amber — this is the 7th blog, but as I said, I think I’m going in reverse order to you!

    Kons — I also love that free shipping! Thanks for entering.

    Amy Jane — I’m a huge Joyce Carol Oates fan! Thanks for that quote.

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