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Catching Up With Good Advice

I am trying to sequester my reading and writing material to this blog, but that does mean that I will have to step up my reading and research game. Cruising my Pinterest suggestions landed me on a listicle about writerly bad habits, one of which was not reading enough recent works.

I am guilty of this. I prefer to get my books for cheap or free, and that leads me to picking up books that are older. Books, like archived internet websites, can linger on in bookstores and library shelves forever, and it isn't like they have all been scrupulously controlled for quality. Reading a book from the '60's can give an interesting perspective, but you are unlikely to learn something new. It hasn't been updated, nothing has been fact-checked in the book, and it is full of old tropes and assumptions that were new at the time of publication but are ancient now.

Not that reading only the latest output is so great, either. No book is actually fact-checked before publication. That's on the author of a non-fiction work and always has been. Even if you can now Google up a correction, no one is going back over the pages to amend the work after it is published. And in fiction, the latest and greatest NY Times bestseller is there because it is flogging the horse we already killed this week. That is my attraction to older works: the obsessions of the past are different from our own, and it is refreshing to read something that isn't deep in our current Culture War.

Anyway, I think I might need to draw up a list, and in the meantime, I have my new story to get out.


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