What I’m Reading in 2015

Well, I ended 2014 with what I’m assuming was a mild case of the flu and the news that our church had been broken into. I began 2015 with four stitches after a blunder with an extremely sharp knife that seemed to want to separate my right thumb from the rest of my hand. I also turned 35 on Friday. So there’s that.

Today was better, though. I’m healthy, my hand is healing, and I’m hoping to finish up the draft of my work in progress, a novel I’m currently calling I Hold the Wind, in the next couple weeks. I am also making preparations for what will probably be a full year researching for my next book, a historical novel set in various locales in France, Austria, and Germany during World War I and the years preceding it. I’m calling that one Enough of Peace at the moment. Here’s what I’ll be reading in 2015…

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Since Christmas I’ve been hip-deep in failing aristocracies, rising anarchy, the Dreyfus Affair, and various other social and political upheavals as I read about the decades that led up to the start of WWI in Barbara Tuchman’s The Proud Tower. I’ve also been reading Mein Kampf, which has been alternately fascinating and horrifying.

Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century was glossed over a bit in my history classes. Except for the requisite pat on the back for ending the war, the First World War was not a subject upon which we lingered. Generally, we stuck to American issues: Reparations after the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the Roaring Twenties, and the Depression, only concerning ourselves with Europe again when we were sucked into the Second World War. For that reason, I’ve never truly understood the causes of WWI. All I remember learning about it was that it was the first truly mechanized war, it was the first war to be fought partially in the air, there were lots of trenches, and the colossal loss of life was all in vain. So I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Also on the immediate horizon is the Write on the Red Cedar writing conference that my writing group, the Capital City Writers Association, is putting on. We’re officially sold out (!) and taking care of all the last-minute logistics. I’ll be sure to share pictures from and thoughts on the conference in late January.

Oh, and in the past couple days, it has finally snowed. 🙂

7 thoughts on “What I’m Reading in 2015

  1. Great post! If you are doing research on the First World War come have a look at my blog. I am currently posting transcripts of diplomatic documents on the outbreak of WWI.

  2. I admire people(you) who are focused and goal oriented. I’ve tried to read up on different subjects, such as dress-codes in the years 1890-1920 – something. Did okay but not as well as I had hoped.

    And a little question: do you really stick to one writing project such as this Enough of Peace throughout the year(or until it’s finished)? And if you can focus on one project at a time: how do you do it?

    1. Hmmm…good questions. I do tend to stick to one thing, and as long as it is something that is consuming my imagination, it’s not too difficult. If another idea for a writing project pops into my mind in the meantime, I capture it on paper and then get back to what I was doing. However, I’m currently drafting a different book while I’m starting the research for the next. So it’s sort of multitasking. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      1. Oh that multitasking skill I’d love to master. I have like 10 scripts waiting to be written and yet, I sit here and write(or not write) on something completely different.

        Thanks for the reply and sure I comment if I read something I find interesting.

  3. Just stumbled across your blog, and I’m excited to read more based on this post alone! I’m also drafting while researching another project – definitely a balancing act.

    This project you’re researching sounds like tons of fun. World War I is a constant fascination for me, and it’s one of my favorite eras to teach because in some ways the causes are like dominoes–all these powers across Europe set up alliances while simultaneously militarizing, and when one spark went off, all the dominoes toppled to engulf the whole continent in war. Anyway, I could nerd out about it for way too long, so I’ll stop.

    On a related note, how do you go about finding good research books?

  4. Thanks for reading, Abby! Hmmm…how do I find good research books? For one thing, I have a few friends who are history nerds such as myself (and you!) and they sometimes have great recommendations. Beyond that, there’s a fabulous used bookstore in my town that stocks huge numbers of historical and biographical titles. They have good sales and I have a husband who gets me gift certificates there for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. I like to write in my books and I want them at hand if I need to refer to them again later, so I have no desire to get them from the library. I have to own them. 🙂 You can also get good recommendations from college professors, amateur history buffs (who are sometimes found in online forums about historical topics), and by poking around the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

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