A few months ago I was making polite conversation, as one does, with a parent at a sporting event where our children were attempting to thrash each other, as they do. It was cold and rainy and once we’d exhausted the topic of the weather, there wasn’t much to say. Politics? We didn’t know each other, so best not to go there. Sports? Awkward, given the game in front of us. So I turned to my personal failsafe — reading.
“I don’t have time to read,” my new potential friend said. And then saw the look on my face.
“Books! I don’t have time read many books! But I do read a lot —mostly periodicals,” she quickly clarified.
I could work with this.
Later, after the game (we lost, if you were curious. I can’t reveal by how much), I thought about how I rarely include all my non-book reading when the topic turns to, well, what I’ve been reading lately. As writers, I know we all jam on books, but there’s plenty of other stuff out there. And since you never know where your next idea will come from, or how two or three bits of information may combine and spark a plot, I thought I’d share some of my sources. A few are obvious, a few you may never have heard of, but I find them all interesting and I hope you will too.
Almost every day I check the front page of several major, reputable newspapers online. I subscribe to The Washington Post (they ran a free six months special a while back for Amazon Prime members — it may be worth checking out), The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. I also scan the BBC and sometimes The Guardian, as well as my local town newspaper. (And ok, I’lll admit it — I have a thing for the Daily Mail. Shush.) It takes me about 15 minutes, and at the end I feel like an informed citizen. Plus, I often find the headlines spark story or plot ideas. [Read more…]