Sunday, January 5, 2014

Reading, It's the New Sexy

Didn’t you hear? Reading a good book boosts brain activity, even days after you finish the book. Reading a good book literally makes your brain better. Makes your brain feel like it’s stepping into the shoes of the characters you read. As an erotica writer, I find this bit of science sexy as hell!

I’ve talked about this before but, in case you couldn’t tell, in addition to being a writer, I’m also an avid reader. Always have been. Since my very first Dr. Seuss book, I’ve never gone anywhere without at least one book on my person (and now, with the wonders of audiobooks and ebooks, I can have a veritable library with me on a single mobile device—you’ve no idea how giddy that makes me).

Now this may sound like bragging. It’s really not. It’s more like an addict’s introduction (Hello, my name is Sonni and I may as well just hand every paycheck over to iBooks & Amazon.). I don’t read to impress anyone. If anything, my reading habits and bookwormish ways are a social turn off. I don’t read for any other reason than to please myself. I rarely read The Classics, though I do enjoy Shakespeare’s comedies—gotta love the banter between Beatrice and Benedict. I never know what’s on the New York Times Bestsellers’ List—if I happen to read one, it’s purely coincidental. 

Frankly, I don’t read much of the lofty texts one’s supposed to read. The stuff stuffy, suited businessmen carry with them on buses and around the office to impress the other unknown passerbys around them. The books that are treated more like accessories than stories. 

No, I admit it. Mostly, I read what the world considers trash. I love graphic novels, where the art tells as much of a story as the words. I love urban fantasy novels filled with witches and shapeshifters. I love romance novels and erotica—corny cute-meets, steamy sex scenes, and everything in between. Mysteries and who-dunnits with bloody murder scenes and long, drawn-out suspense. I love those funny, little fact books about the histories of superstitions or strange medical trivia. I devour cookbooks and DIY craft books. I read children’s picture books and young adult series. There’s not really a section of a bookstore that I won’t explore to find an interesting read—much to the chagrin of anyone accompanying me. Author, acclaim, genre be damned. My only real requirement of a book is that it entertain me. I love them all!

So, this year, my resolution is to give a little back to the books that have given me so much. Each month, I’m going to celebrate a writer or story or series or genre that has inspired me.

Because, as one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, said, stories “are transmissible. You can catch them, or be infected by them. They are the currency that we share with those who walked the world before ever we were here. (Telling stories […] makes me feel part of something special and odd, part of the continuous stream of life itself.) […] I believe we owe it to each other to tell stories. It’s as close to a credo as I have or will, I suspect, ever get.”

Stories touch us in ways few things can. They offer us peeks into worlds and lives we’d otherwise never know. And, as effortlessly as they flow for the readers enjoying them, every writer knows that
they take effort, dedication, and an act of almost insane will. From creation to consumption, stories—the act and practice of telling and being told—are miraculous things. And a touch we should all seek to share. 

After all—as one of my favorite shows, BBC’s Sherlock, says—“it’s the new sexy.”

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