When I was in high school, I had a real dilemma: I loved the books the teachers assigned us, and as a result, the teachers loved me. Naturally, that meant some of the other students hated me.

Now, I should clarify this by saying that I didn’t always love what I was assigned. Prior to high school, teachers gave young people some pretty boring books to read. But in high school (and possibly even junior high), we got some classics. To Kill A Mockingbird. Huck Finn. Those types of classics.

And in my high school, the teachers exposed us to a variety of great stuff. I’m talking everything from The Sound and the Fury to Slaugherhouse-Five! My teenage mind was already overstimulated with wonderful music, and in school, they overstimulated my mind with wonderful books.

Like most writers who aspire to create classics of their own, I was a reader before I could become a writer. And, like most writers of the obsessive type, I had to have more. This is a behavior that follows me even to this day: I can’t just have one John Coltrane album. I have to hear it all! I approached reading classic literature in much the same way.

But What About Genres?

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not into genre fiction. But that doesn’t mean I’m constantly looking down my nose at Michael Crichton or J.K. Rowling. I get it: lots of folks love to read accessible, fun, page-turner fiction.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Plenty of writers aspire to be the next [Fill-In-The-Blank] in a genre they love.

But that’s not the kind of writing I love the best. What I love are the books that take me into a different type of experience – not one exactly like my own, but one that’s relatable for me. I can’t relate to vampires or spacemen. I can relate to 18th-century girls or 20th-century mob bosses, but not to non-human entities. That’s just how I roll.

So I have always had to be a reader. For me, that meant going beyond even the Master’s in English and checking out all sorts of books they didn’t ever get around to assigning me. Balzac. Camus. Gardner. You name it, I probably read it.

And I’m still reading today.

What about you? What’s on your TBR list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

short blog long video

A Short Blog Post, But A Long Video Interview

Most of my Monday blog posts are a few hundred words long. Sometimes that's because I'm just plain long-winded (hey, I'm a novelist!), but usually it's for SEO purposes. The Google machine tells you that your "content" should always be at least 300 words long. In a...
creativity

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #5: Creativity vs. Money

One of the most daunting questions amateur writers face is whether they can make money following their most creative pursuits. Are they too non-commercial? Will an agent be interested? Will my work sell at all? The question of Creativity vs. Money isn’t relevant for...
kicking that can

Kicking That Can Down the Road

When I started writing my upcoming novel, I didn't have an agenda or even a plan. The story of Whizzers came about very organically, though it has roots in my own life from many years ago. To understand how I evolved as a writer, you almost have to understand how I...
Whizzers

Book Promotion Sites: Which Are The Best, and Are They Worth It?

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert when it comes to book promotion sites. When I published my first three novels simultaneously on December 10th 2015—a day that will live infamy, and yes, I know now that it was a harebrained marketing scheme—I knew nothing...
relax

Five Ways to Relax During Quarantine

​I thought a good blog post this week would be on how to unwind—not just during our current era of quarantine and “social distancing,” but on any day off. What my wife calls a holiday. That could be any time, right? I’ve been running so hard lately, I've barely had...

Writing Based on Experience

Recently, I’ve been writing more about writing, giving some explanations about why I write what I write…or, in the case of the three novels I’m currently promoting, why I wrote what I wrote. Brothers’ Hand, which takes place in the fictional town of Carverville, NY,...
morning

5 Things to Do Before You Begin Your Writing Day

What should you do before you start your writing day? I've read plenty of advice on topics like this over the years, and I have to say upfront: I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way. You have to do what works for you. However, I've also tried to do things...
happy new year

Happy New Year From Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

Today was the last day of 2018, and it's also my last blog post of the year. I almost missed it. One of the only reasons I've had success as an author, speaker and publisher is because I've been both relentless and consistent. I used to think my natural, God-given...

Book Fair Time Coming September 17th

Most of my blog posts are related in one way or another to the business of being an author - expanding your author platform, improving your book marketing, and so on - and not strictly self-promotional. However, every once in a while, I've got a radio interview or...

Short Story Contest

As we head into September, I'm struck by how quickly this year has flown by. I have a radio interview in two days and a book fair next month, and I'm sure there will be much more happening as I go full bore with marketing campaigns for Miles of Files, Jana, and...