Monday, October 14, 2019

Greetings from London!

Hey everyone! Mary here, and I’m in London! About to head out so I’ll be brief... so brief I won’t even put on my usual MF logo (blogger’s app is wild). Anyway, I’ve been here for less than 48 hours and already I’ve hit up a bookstore and bought five (FIVE) new books. Which is a bit of an issue since I only brought a little carry on suitcase, and it was already full to the brim. Not to worry though — I seem to have Doctor Strange-style powers to warp reality and render spacetime meaningless when it comes to packing books ;-). Anyway, here are some pics!

Also, I visited the street where HG Wells lived for a spell! Totally geeked out!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Interview with Alison Grey: a Savvy Southern Writer

Greetings ATB readers! You are in for a treat. Please welcome to the blog my dear friend Alison Grey, one of the most diligent--and generous--writers in indie publishing. She writes crime fiction of all flavors--domestic suspense, psych thrillers, and atmospheric mysteries.

If you're interested in self-publishing or floundering with your own titles, pay attention. She doles out great advice.
Welcome, Alison!

How long have you been self-publishing? What is your biggest takeaway when it comes to indie publishing and trying to make a dent in a crowded market?

I’ve been self-publishing for almost 5 years. It’s been quite the ride. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that nothing stays the same in indie publishing. You have to constantly pivot to keep up with the changes in the market. A year in this business is like 7 years outside of it. Almost anything becomes dated (as far as marketing goes) within 6 months. So making a dent in the market is becoming increasingly more difficult because every genre is just saturated now. So I focus on what I can control— I try to write the best story I can and give it the best cover and blurb I can to make it stand out. So learn to adapt. That’s the most important skill in this business.

What three pieces of advice would you give an author looking to self-publish for the first time?

— Be prepared to do a lot of things that won’t be writing. You’re a publisher, and that’s an entirely different job. If you can accept that and embrace it, you’ll be ahead of the game.
— Do not make your own cover or use any cover that isn’t as great as the covers on the bestsellers’ lists. This does not necessarily have to be expensive. I don’t think people realize you can get amazing covers for less than $100. Even so, do not skimp on this. And be honest with yourself. “Acceptable” is not going to work. Not in this market. The cover has to be great. It has to tell the reader immediately what genre it is and what they can expect from the story or they will scroll (or stroll) on by.
— Nothing matters more than writing. If you’re not getting words in, you’re wasting time. Yes, you have to do plenty of non-writing stuff. But nothing should ever come before words. Don’t get distracted by anything else. There’s no course or marketing plan that can make up for not having words to sell. Writing is king.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to the indie book market? 

I don’t know if people still think this, but it used to be that people considered anything self-published as being crap. And sometimes it is, but those books don’t sell. It’s not like it was in 2013 when it seemed anything would sell. Today, indie books (the ones that sell and the ones on the bestsellers lists) are indistinguishable from any other book on the market. That’s the great thing about it becoming a competitive market, in order to do well you have to be good. You have to have a professional product. Indie publishing is no longer the slush pile in ePub form.
Tell us about your latest crime series--Murder on the Redneck Riviera.  
My Murder On the Redneck Riviera series is about the Beckett sisters, Dee and Meg. The sisters are estranged and haven’t spoken in years due to a dark secret they share. When their dad dies,  Meg is put in charge of the dilapidated panhandle beach (the Redneck Riviera is the nickname for the beaches on the Florida panhandle) motel their family has owned since the 1950s. Dee is forced to come home for mysterious reasons and begs Meg for a job and a place to crash. Despite Meg not wanting anything to do with her sister, she agrees and that’s when the trouble begins. Dee’s first night working the front desk of the motel she finds a dead body in one of the rooms… and she knows the guy. Except she thought she killed him ten years ago. 

It’s a very Florida story. I was inspired by other Florida series I love by Carl Hiassen and Dawn Lee McKenna. There’s eccentric characters, murder, family secrets, and nothing is quite as it seems. Much like Florida!
(You can preorder it now.) 

You live in South Carolina and really embrace the setting in your thrillers. What is it about the South that lends itself to crime fiction? 

I think what’s great about the south are the people. I mean the south is full of eccentric characters. What’s the old saying? Something about in the south we don’t hide our crazy people. We show them off in the living room and offer them a cocktail. No one asks if you have crazy people in your family, they just ask you what side they’re on. I absolutely LOVE southerners. They aren’t afraid to tell you who they are and they tend to have complicated pasts. They also live in this very haunting place with a dark and Gothic history. I love the Spanish moss, the confederate jasmine that creeps up its antebellum homes, and I absolutely love the food and unwillingness to part with certain traditions. There’s a bizarre sort of social hierarchy that still exists in the south today and I think it’s the perfect recipe for a good crime story. 

Who are your favorite authors? Who are you reading right now?

My favorite author of all time is Pat Conroy. I love Fannie Flagg, Carl Hiassen, Liane Moriarty. Shirley Jackson and Flannery O’Connor are up there with Conroy for me. I love the darkness in their stories. Right now I am reading a lot of domestic suspense, I just read a great book by Anna Pitoniak called Necessary People that was very good.

What TV shows are you binge watching?

I mean, sadly, I watch a lot of reality TV. I really love studying the women on the shows, their desires and their motivations. It’s also just a shallow escape. As far as actual television shows, I am obsessed with The Crown. I love the show Bloodline which is a Florida suspense series. Veronica Mars. Breaking Bad. I’m very into Succession right now.
Can't Let Go, a psychological suspense about Charleston's well-to-do, is available now.

Alison lives in Charleston with her husband and kids. You can connect with her via Instagram to find out more about her work and her life.

And buy her books! You won't be disappointed.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Google Search: Writer Slang

I had intended to post Part 2 of my Zodiac Profiles for Writers, but I decided to stick with my assigned topic for this moth - a Google search. I’ll give you Part 2 next month.

As the mom of a newly minted teenager, I find I'm constantly trying to keep up. I’m the mom who monitors her phone whenever I feel the urge (she’s aware of this, by the way, and I tell her when I do a check - it’s a good way to keep her on her toes). I also follow her on all her social media. I also have to be added to any private stories she has on Snapchat. This means that occasionally I’m exposed to some slang terms that I’m too old to understand. I’m often looking up terms (and sometimes crying when I find out what the mean). This got me thinking - what kind of slang terms exist for writers? 

A Google search gave me the following suggestions:

A click on Writer Slang Name took me to and while there were some I was familiar with (like in the first picture below), there’s a whole world of terms I never knew existed. I selected just a few to share with you here today, but I urge you to go and explore on your own.

If you have a favorite writer slang term, feel free to drop it in the comments below - just dont forget to tell us what it means!

~ Carrie 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Why Being an Author is Like Being a Small Business Owner

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!
Hey, everybody!  Hopefully you haven't found me too terribly out of sorts lately, but I have been burning the candle at all three (?) ends between my day job, writing, and...

(drumroll please)

I am now the co-owner of a small business!  I don't want this post to be all about that, but I'm sure you'll have some questions, so the deal is:

- I bought a balloon store
- It's in central Pennsylvania and while external support is nice, our customer base is local
- No, I don't know anything about balloons, but my partner and our staff are awesome
- No, we don't make balloon animals
- Yes, the helium shortage is a real thing
- No, we don't have any special helium connections

So what am I doing for the business exactly?  Well, I'm running the numbers and doing some social media, so, yay Blog Number Three!

What's struck me in the last few months, though, is how much the skills I've developed as an indie author translates to being a small business owner.  This probably comes as no surprise to any other authors out there, but it may be interesting to our readers and aspiring authors.

The TL;DR for this post is: being an indie author means you are a small business owner.

Writing is a craft, an art, and in some cases a vocation, which is why people can forget that it's a business as well.  You're selling books.  In many cases, you're not just selling books, you're actively aspiring to sell books full time.  Should you ever achieve that goal, you will be a one-person business.  (Or, possibly more.  You could hire an assistant, for instance, but at the end of the day the paychecks are coming in because of you and what you're writing.)

Now, I know it may not be true that you're trying to sell books.  There are some people who simply give away their work for the love of having it out there, or, in fact, don't show their work to anyone at all, a la Emily Dickinson or Henry Darger.  If that's the case, then God bless you for it, God bless you for the purity of your dedication to your art.  But at that point you are a hobbyist, and since the purity of your art is the point of your art, then there is no advice I, or for that matter, anyone else can give you that would be of any value.  And since this post is writing advice, I'm going to table that discussion for now and focus on pro authors, and those seeking to become pro authors.

So what does being a pro author entail?  It entails selling your books, which means you need to be reasonably good with money and finances.  You need to, at a minimum, track your sales, through your various platforms and hand-selling at conventions, signings, and the like.  It means you need to maintain and keep track of inventory for hand-selling, which means you have to make certain predictions about how much inventory you will need, and then order it in time for events.  These are all the very basic fundaments of business.

But it goes beyond that, as well.  One of the first things we had to do with the balloon shop was establish our brand, which is all wrapped up in this handsome logo right here:

We came up with a name that represented how we wanted people to think of our business: not just as a balloon store for kids, but an art studio for sophisticated clients.  An author, too, in many cases, has to decide on a name or a pen name which represents their work, whether it be a compelling element of their genre or just a strong but ultimately generic name.  In certain gender-dominated genres you may wish to choose initials to portray a gender-neutral or even counterfactual gender for marketing purposes.

But marketing doesn't stop with a name.  We came up with a logo and a website to capture the public persona we wanted to project.  And, of course, as an author, you'll be projecting a persona as well.  Now, don't take that as me saying that you need to make up a whole new person.  Just consider how you would act in a business setting - completely professional if you're in a very uptight setting, or perhaps with a bit of humor or charisma if you're in a more performative setting.  It's not that you're faking who you are, you're just projecting different aspects of yourself. 

Now don't get me wrong.  Your author persona may also be completely made up.  I doubt Chuck Tingle really acts that way, for instance.  But most likely your author persona will be some version of your real self, somewhat curated for public consumption.  (Not unlike social media in general, now that I think of it.)

What about marketing?  One of the first things we did for the store was to order cards.  As an author, your "card" will probably be a bookmark - but, of course, you can also make a card.  You'll also want to look into advertising.  For a small business, that may consist of local newspapers, billboards, or small donations to raise your profile.  Similarly, as an author, you'll be looking into book blogs, marketing sites, and giving away ARCs (or advanced review copies) of your books.

The similarities go on, and I could go on for days, but I think you're starting to see the picture.  And to be honest, I've directly ported a lot of the skills I learned while marketing myself as an author to the balloon shop.  For instance, starting a blog and a newsletter.  How about you?  What skills have you brought from your business work to writing, or vice versa?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Patterns - In Words - In Life

By Cheryl Oreglia

Humor me for a moment and imagine a pile of words as if a clump of clay, siting lifeless on the table, until the artist comes along and molds it into some sort of shape. Right? Before one word is selected, or the skill of the artist is applied to the clay, in that moment the possibilities are endless. It's the most enticing and frightening part of the process for me.

As I stare at the unformed page, organizing my thoughts, censoring nothing as waves of words ebb and flow through my mind, it's an exciting moment, full of tension, a touch of fear, and unquestionable elation. I have always aspired to shape my 1,500 word posts into something worthy of display, as if a work of art, a piece that inspires the reader to stop and ponder it's meaning.

After hours of sculpting, a rustic image begins to appear, but I believe it takes enormous courage to lift the cloth, boldly revealing that which you have cast, intentionally or not some hidden aspect of the self is always unveiled.

"Soul animates body to make a living being, just as form animates matter to make a piece of art," claims Jane Alison in her recent book Meander, Spiral, Explode. If formation and pattern are the soul of our narratives than I think it might be worthy of our consideration?

There are many ways to write, the most popular having something to do with an arc, meaning historically a story has been defined or burdened with a beginning, middle, and end - And they lived happily ever after - a narrow but classic closure. The truth is there are many ways to weave a story and often without knowing we use various strategies and patterns when we write. This is the personality of your work and as with people it can be charming or annoying or boring, or worse unengaging and we simply loose the audience we so painstakingly enticed.

Strangely enough when you explore structures of writing we find they mimic fundamental patterns in nature! It's all so pleasantly rural. Look around you, everything is patterned, this can be comforting, and distressing at the same time. Right in front of me are patterned blinds shading me from patterns of light filtering into the room, below me is a patterned tiled floor. I'm sitting on a patterned chair beside a patterned brick fireplace and layered wooden mantle. The plants I have scattered about the room in an attractive pattern are patterned with leaves and flowers. Outside the tree and bushes form an attractive pattern. It's extraordinary when you stop and look around. Even the keyboard I use to type this piece is patterned along with my daily schedule and patterns of sleep.

Oh my, the webs we weave are adhesive as hell.

We have distinctive ways of organizing our stories, usually they fall in the form of Parataxis or Hypotaxis. Parataxis being a linear form: She walked into the kitchen, filled her cup, reached for the morning paper, and decided to spend her morning on the patio basking in the sun. As opposed to Hypotaxis which is a more spacial form of writing, it bounces, and lingers leaving the action hanging in favor of comparative relations among the elements: It could have been the crows gathering in the Magnolia tree for their morning chat, or the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that moved her thoughts in a deadly direction, she had to shut that shit down, and snuggled more deeply into her voluminous pillow muffling the wayward solicitations and fetor of scalding java.

I am a Hypotaxis writer, the story draws me into the underlying symbols, but it is the meaning embedded in our stories that I find so titillating. How about you?

Jan Alison says it's not about what happens next but instead weaving a net whose design you can't see until it is finished. Sometimes when I'm reading a novel that uses this approach, someone like Ruth Ware, I literally have to use all of my inner strength not to peek at the final pages, I have to manage this uncomfortable tension between knowing and not knowing, which only serves to heightens the suspense. Let me just say the struggle is real and I failed while reading her last novel.

I've sought to create powerful narratives that hint at embedded structures but avoid the simplicity of the classic arc, structures that create an inner sensation of traveling toward something and leave a sense of shape behind, so that the stories feel organized - not just slice of life writes Jan Alison. Stories like The Sound and the Fury, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice to name a few.

Think of the motion of the waves at the beach and how a pattern such as that can be assigned to our stories, waves of action roll in and recede, tides of thought rise and fall, "a drama with swelling and collapsing tensions," it can be as magnetizing as the ocean. Jan Alison says a wave is a clear instance of energy charging static matter until that energy is spent and equilibrium returns, elegant and satisfying. I liken it to the feeling I get when riding a Ferris wheel or roller coaster.

We have to consider the experience of the reader as they absorb the essence of the story, our goal is to pull them in, keep them in our world, until it becomes their own. Think of a story that moves like a tornado, swirling, spiraling across the page, sort of reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, with all the unexpected twists and turns, kindness and generosity playing beside devastation and destruction.

Patterns are everywhere, we like patterns, it is our nature to pattern our lives in some sort of fashion, it makes us feel not only safe but sacred, as if our life is an efficacious ritual, our deepest desires miraculously manifest in the center of routine. This is the same with story, readers are drawn to patterns in your writing. It makes me think of architecture, bee hives, quilts, paintings, textiles, flooring, even the way the grass is mowed. These patterns need to find their way into the DNA of our stories.

So it is a personal challenge that I will go in search of ways to interest my readers by using unexpected patterns, white space, repetition, texture, symmetry, and wavelike stripes, that work beyond the narrative to create motion and appeal, as if an invitation to the reader, come, join us, stay.

What are some of your favorite stories and what sort of patterns do you use in the molding of your tale?

When I'm not writing for Across the Board, I'm Living in the Gap, drop by anytime.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Ten Authors I Wish I’d Discovered Sooner

I became an avid reader at a young age. However, I grew up on an island that’s roughly 100 miles long by 35 miles wide, so there weren’t many choices in terms of bookstores. Between the lack of places to purchase literature and my anemic finances, my options were limited to whatever was on sale at the only Borders on the island. That means I read a lot of Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Stephen King, Pablo Neruda, and Michael Connelly. I’m sure they became an indiscernible part of my DNA as a reader, so I don’t hide the fact that I read them. In any case, the internet wasn’t a choice for me until my last year of high school, so Amazon was also out of the question for that first half decade of devouring books. Thankfully, my father was also a reader and I received many books from him. What I couldn’t get that way or find at an affordable price, I either stole from the school’s library or wrote down on a list that never got any shorter. I’m not proud of having stolen books from the library, but the first book I stole, Horacio Quiroga’s Tales of Love, Madness and Death, for example, changed my life. After all that changed and I could order books online, I became an even more dedicated reader and my nights were spent in the company of authors who helped shape me not as a reader but as a writer. Their influence is something I feel even today. I’m not talking about copying styles, but about something more profound, something that goes far beyond my appreciation for James Ellroy’s telegrammatic style, Julia de Burgos’ way of anthropomorphizing nature, or Richard Laymon’s straightforward brutality. What I’m talking about is my writer DNA, the cumulative elements that in various ways lead to my voice or that at least gave me the push to keep writing and find it. Nowadays I write multicultural, multilingual, violent fiction steeped in syncretism and superstition, and I’m incredibly happy with that. However, I often wonder what my writing would be like if I’d had a chance to read some authors earlier in life. Here are, in no particular order, the ten I wonder about the most:

10. Henry Miller

Some consider the man a genius and others think of him as no more than a libidinous hack. For me, he masterfully walks the line between the two. His work is beautiful, deep pulp. His observations on art are art themselves and when he gets down and dirty, he doesn’t pull any punches. This duality is something I try to achieve; to dance on that dividing line between what most call literary fiction and the blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids of the literary gutter. Every time I find myself editing a paragraph in which I, to a degree, find that balance, I wonder how Miller’s prose would have helped shaped the malleable mind of a 14-year-old who desperately wanted to share his own stories.

9. Gwendolyn Brooks

Strangely enough, I devoured poetry as regularly as I did crime and horror in my early years. Oliverio Girondo, Mario Benedetti, Julia de Burgos, and Federico García Lorca quickly became favorites. Many years later, already living in the U.S., I encountered the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, online and almost by accident. Short, sweet, playful, and surprising in its depth, especially in his shorter poems, her work forced me to rediscover and rethink rhythm, to explore once again the way words can force you to read them a certain way because the author has infused them with the power to set the tone and rhythm in the mind of the reader.

8. Jim Thompson

My crime education was packed with books by Elmore Leonard, John le Carré, whom I found a touch boring but read because his books were around, and the aforementioned James Ellroy, among others. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I finally acquired a few Jim Thompson books. His work blew me away. His novels were full of violence, unreliable narrators, surprisingly odd structures, and bizarre inner monologues, but those elements somehow added up to outstandingly beautiful crime novels. I’ve always walked on the weird side of things, and have no doubt Thompson would have helped me land on the right path much sooner if only I’d been lucky enough to have access to his novels earlier in life.

7. Cormac McCarthy

I’ve written extensively about the backlash my bilingual fiction has received, and every negative comment or angry 1-star review that complains about the Spanglish always reminds me of my first encounter with McCarthy’s work. Here was an author who wrote using his own set of rules, and he was respected and lauded for it. To this day, his work, along with that of authors and academics like Junot Díaz and Gloria Anzaldúa, gives me the strength to push forward and write things they way they demand to be written and not like monolingual readers would like to read them.

6. Mayra Montero

For a long time, I thought of Mayra Montero as a journalist who wrote great articles and opinion columns for my local newspaper. I knew she was a writer, but had no interest in checking out her work. Right before leaving Puerto Rico for Texas, I decided to read In the Palm of Darkness (I read the Spanish edition, Tú, la Oscuridad), and quickly realized that she touched on many of the things that obsessed me: identity, language, mystery, and syncretism. It immediately made me wish I’d started reading her sooner. 

5. Langston Hughes

When craving the stunning beauty that can be found at the heart of poetry, I systematically evade purposefully convoluted poems and turn to the simple, straightforward poems of Langston Hughes. For a young author who reads and writes across genre boundaries, there are times when gratuitously embellished writing seems tempting. Similarly, for young readers and writers, dense writing may seem impressive. Later in life, once many weak, plotless, beautifully written books have been read and deconstructed, it’s almost impossible to go back to that while ignoring how satisfying simplicity can be. I wish I’d learned that sooner, and I’m sure that would have happened if I’d started reading Hughes back when I was reading poets daily before my 18th birthday.

4. Chuck Palahniuk

For years, Palahniuk existed in the periphery of my reading habits. That movie everyone has seen had placed him on my radar, but other books, lack of disposable income, and limited access kept his books away from me. Finally, I dug into his work, years after the aforementioned movie had come out. It was an eye-opening experience. I always leaned toward weirdness, and this man was the patron saint of it. If I decided to study journalism because Hunter S. Thompson was a journalist, I lost all fear of writing bizarre narratives because Palahniuk had been successful doing it. I regret not delving into his novels the second the movie ended.

3.  Edwidge Danticat

There is a collective Caribbean heart at the core of every Danticat novel, and reading her work is master class in how to tap into it. For those inhabiting Otherness, literature can be a weapon, a tool, and a home. I found all those things in Danticat’s work and, as a bonus, developed a little voice in my head that whispers “It’s okay, keep going” whenever I stop to think if my writing is becoming so tied to a specific identity or place that might be alienating for readers. 

2. Patrick Chamoiseau

Chamoiseau, like Danticat, came to me late and thanks to my time at the University of Texas at Austin. Also, like McCarthy, he showed me that mixing languages was not only acceptable but sometimes required in the name of authenticity.  

1. Harry Crews

Crews changed the way I looked at fiction, my understanding of weird, and shaped a few of my views on writing, and he did all of it in the last ten years. Before I moved to the United States, I hadn’t even heard of Harry Crews. His name, like that of Chester Himes and Charles Willeford, two authors who could easily be on this list if it were longer, was one I came across when I started looking for better, stranger fiction that none of my cohorts were talking about. I found it quickly, and I became a huge fan of Crews even faster. It’s impossible not to wonder what twenty years of his words would have done to my brain.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, professor, book reviewer, and journalist living in Austin, TX. He is the author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Lamenting the (temporary?) lack of reading

Who here has kids? *raises hand*

Who here has kids who are readers? *raises hand halfway*

I have a fourteen-year-old son who was once an avid reader. He struggled as a developing reader and we enrolled him in Kumon, which is a global company and it was AMAZING. It wasn't his favorite thing to do when he was seven by any stretch of the imagination, but even he credits Kumon with his reading abilities today.

That is...his reading abilities when he chooses to use them. Unlike his eight-year-old self who was never without a book, the fourteen-year-old has become a reluctant reader. I'm pretty sure if it were up to him, he'd never read at all for "pleasure", preferring SnapChat, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, PlayStation. Basically, <insert social media platform here> and it supersedes reading.

Thank goodness it's not up to him. A condition of living in our house is that he reads, and it is a habit for him. (I mean, I'm not sure we'd really make him move out, but I tell him all the time that reading is too important a thing to just drop.)He takes his Kindle upstairs to read before bed every night (while all other electronics stay downstairs) and brings it down every morning to read with breakfast. But, the only other time he'll pick up his Kindle "willingly" if he's been rude and had all other electronic devices taken away from him. I guess then reading doesn't seem so bad? Also, he's not stupid. He knows it warms my cold hard heart to see him reading, so it's not a bad way to get back on my good side!

I did an informal poll among my friends and acquaintances about their own teens' reading habits and many had similar stories - their child stopped reading somewhere between ages 12 and 14. If they didn't stop altogether, reading declined significantly. Yes, there are a few whose teens avidly devour book after book, but they were the exception, not the norm. There also didn't seem to be any difference between boys and girls. All were fairly disinterested.

It makes me wonder why, especially with the plethora of YA books these days. I remember being 14 and reading Victoria Holt, with a sneaky side of Jackie Collins. (Um, 14-year-old girls, Jackie Collins' books still exist! Just saying.) Is it the pervasiveness of other forms of entertainment? I absolutely think this is a factor. Or is it the medium?

The Boy doesn't read print books anymore and he hasn't in a couple of years at least. We originally loaded up an old Kindle for him when we were going on holiday rather than carry several paperbacks, but now the Kindle is his preference, hands down. Is it because it's another screen? Maybe? Or is it because of the immediate gratification? That's why I love ebooks so much. I'm sure there's an element of that with him, as well.

My husband thinks The Boy is learning a habit in reading at bedtime and at breakfast and that this will be his habit out of choice when he's older, too. The Boy, of course, says once he moves out he'll never read another book again. I think he says this to wind me up, but I'm not really sure. I hope not because I can't imagine a life without the comfort and company of books. But am I just being old-fashioned? What about your kids, if you have them? Do they still read? And if they stopped, did they come back to it?
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