Crystal Warren is Reading …

Social networking seems to be taking up a lot of time and energy for a lot of people. Between Facebook, MySpace, mixit, twitter, live journal, blogs and all the other sites out there it is suprising anyone finds time to talk to real people anymore.

This is not a complaint. I have a lot of fun on Facebook and the few other forums I visit. But I do worry that the time spent online is cutting into time which should perhaps be spent reading or writing.

Yet there is the positive side of social networking for writers. There are wonderful virtual communities developing at places like BookSA, there are an amazing amount of blogs and online journals devoted to books and writing. And some writers and publishers are incredibly good at using social networking tools to market their books.

I know that I have benefitted by references to books on facebook. Recently someone raved about a book I had considered buying. The excitement of a real reader means a lot more than professional praise or publisher’s blurbs.

So now and then I have used my status update on facebook to mention what I am reading. It usually generates a lot of comments. Imagine if we all did that? Regular references to reading, to good books all over the cyberworld.  This would provide us avid readers with new books to try, and remind the rest of the community that reading is a good thing.

At the moment I am reading And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer (a sequel to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series). As I usually have a few books on the go at any time, I am also reading On Writing by Stephen King (part memoir and part writing guide), Living with Contradiction by Esther de Waal (an introduction to Benedictine spirituality) and Answering Back : living poets reply to the poetry of the past edited by Carol Ann Duffy.

So what are you reading?


Poetry Recommendations – 2009

One of the blogs I read regularly is Peony Moon by Michelle McGrane. Michelle is a wonderful poet in her own right (or would that be write:) and knows an immense amount about poetry. Her blog is filled with interviews, reviews and other information about the poetry world.

So I was delighted and honoured when she emailed me asking for my participation in a poetry project. Michelle has got a large group of poets from around the world to list their three favourite poetry collections of 2009.  Here is the link to one of eight entries, which, taken together provide a large list of books to be read.  Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009

Choosing  just three books was quite a challenge. There were several more that I would have liked to have mentioned. Then there are all the books published before 2009 that I only got round to reading last year, or reread. So here is my longer list, noting my favourites of the poetry books I read in 2009.

Impredehora – Yvette Christansë

Flashes – Carol Leff

The State of Poetry- Roger McGough

Burnt Offering – Joan Metelerkamp

Rage against the Beast – Sonwabo Meyi

Strange Fruit – Helen Moffet

Thirst – Mary Oliver

Séance for the Body – Wendy Woodward

Tongues of their Mothers – Makhosazana Xaba

Oleander – Fiona Zerbst