Anyone who writes, and who wants to write well, also knows they need to read a lot too. Reading different genres gives us an appreciation of styles and voices and the unique ways that writers approach their work. Reading also improves our vocabulary and it helps fire up our imaginations.
Reading has always been very important to me, although I admit I don’t read as often as I should. There is always room for change, and to write well, I need to read more.
Currently, I’m reading, Lady of the Glen, by Jennifer Roberson, a historical fiction novel I hold dear to my heart. The story takes place in the highlands of Scotland, during the late 1600’s, where lands of majestic castles and warring clans, The Campbells and the MacDonalds, become the backdrop for this story.
One reason Lady of the Glen captures my interest so, is the mention of Clan Fraser, highlanders from the Inverness area, who were involved in constant clan warfare with the McDonalds. My mother’s family were Frasers. The well researched and detailed account of Scottish history I find most intriguing, although the heroine, Catriona Campbell, is the highlight of the book.
Catriona Campbell, daughter of the hard-drinking laird Glen Lyon, Chief of the Campbell Clan, is anything but submissive and obedient as 17th century society wanted women to be. She is a girl, becoming a woman in a man’s world. Through trial and error, and the death of her brother, Catriona learns to stand firm in her beliefs and her ideals. She is smart, she is strong and she is real. Cat reminds you of someone you have always admired and you feel as if you’ve known her forever. You will feel pride in her, and you will feel devastation right along side of her.
I thoroughly enjoy reading about strong women who stand up for themselves in spite of oppressing forces around them. They show tremendous courage, and fully embrace the essence of who they are.
Another author, whose characters are always strong independent women, is Chilean author, Isabel Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the “magic realist” tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of Spirits. Allende’s novels are often based upon her personal experience and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism.
Throughout history, in almost every country of the world, men were said to have an advantage over women. Apparently, they were stronger and smarter, while a woman’s place was in the home, tending to their men and having babies.
I love taking care of my home, and raising my children was the best thing that ever happened to me. However, today’s society is changing rapidly. Each one of us is called to contribute to the greater good for our families, our friends, neighbors, society and the planet.
Today, men and women everywhere, are coming together and working towards a better world for everyone. The era of one person on top of another will soon be over. If we all work together in bringing about these changes we so desperately need, we can make it happen.