At the end of February, I started back on my balloonist story and curtailed my reading of romance. Even though I see non romance books as “secondary food” as Megan described in an earlier post, I can’t read and write romance at the same time. I like to get emotionally involved (identify with the heroine, fall in love with the hero) and I can’t do that with two couples at once. So I save reading romance for vacations, breaks between drafts, etc…

Anyway, in February I stocked up on non-romance reading including self help books with a Buddhist persuasion (since I’ve been taking meditation classes) and popular books recommended by friends.

Then March hit, with the seemingly endless snows and the Dumb Stuff I Have to Do that I blogged about last weekend. I wasn’t managing more than an hour or two of writing a week, which meant I kept reopening the same scene until I got sick of it. I decided to hold off until I’m through the logjam.

But it was only recently that I figured out I could have been been reading romance. Doh!

So here’s what I have been reading.

In the self help line, I’ve enjoyed books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron and a gem I’d like to share: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The latter is the guide to a stress reduction program including yoga and meditation that was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. I’m just starting to blend elements of this program with things I’m already doing, but so far I am finding it is stress management GOLD.

In the fiction line, I read Bangkok 8 by John Burdett, which features a Buddhist cop in Bangkok. It’s witty and funny and it was kind of surreal to be reading this at the same time as the above serious books on Buddhist topics.

I also read The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, being probably one of the last literate people on the planet to do so. It’s definitely a page turner. There are critics who complain that Brown’s prose is uninspired. Personally, I don’t care about plain writing when the focus is on the action. It’s only a problem when he tries to do something more emotional, i.e. “She looked beautiful in the moonlight” from one of the final scenes. That sort of writing doesn’t fly in romance, but for this sort of book, no big deal.

Unfortunately, the time crunch seems likely to continue through spring break. So I will console myself by reading romance and trying to catch up on books by the Riskies. 🙂

So what do you read when you’re not reading romance? If you read any of the above books, what did you think of them?