Read a story.

I have a confession to make. I'm reading all those near-future, dystopian novels everybody is complaining about (except the ones with zombies), even though I'm complaining about them too (I am large, I contain multitudes). A child of Jehovah's Witnesses, I was taught to believe the End of Days would come to pass in my lifetime. So even though my understanding of the world is more nuanced now, I have this not-so-secret infatuation with apocalypses, especially the kind with aliens. I also read comic books.

Of course, I read lots of other things too. I'm a writer, so you'd expect that of me, but I'm here to tell you that having a book or two (or five) on the go, having a reading list, having a stack of books you might never get to in your lifetime, these are good thingsā„¢. Reading a story - short or long, but especially long - is good for your attention span, your view of the world (especially when you read work by and/or about people who don't look or think like you do), your sense of what is possible.

We read so much now; memes, social networking feeds, junk news, articles that quote other articles that quote research that might or might not be rigorous, but if there is worth in taking the time to write a story of substance, there is worth in taking the time to read it. That's why I was so delighted to learn that Halifax had spent an appreciable sum building a beautiful new library for its citizens and equally morose that I live so far away from the city now.

All this by way of saying, read a story. I don't care what story, but read one. A long one. Savor it over a week or a month or however long it takes you to get through the thing. Want a recommendation? Here are a few I loved last year:

Alif the Unseen - G. Willow Wilson
Lexicon - Max Barry (AWESOME!)
Of Blood and Honey (The Fey and the Fallen #1) - Stina Leicht
And Blue Skies From Pain (The Fey and the Fallen, #2) - Stina Leicht
The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson (AWESOME!)
When We Wake (When We Wake #1) - Karen Healey
While We Run (When We Wake #2) - Karen Healey

And here are links to my local libraries.

Baddeck Public Library
James McConnell Memorial Library - Sydney

What have you read and loved lately?