How would describe your love affair with reading? Who are your favorite writers, what genres do you frequent most, what are your reading habits? What kind of meals do you nourish your imagination and intellect with?


My love affair with reading started very late. Not until my first year in graduate school did I read anything for my personal enjoyment. But then I read Jim the Boy by Tony Earley, the first book I couldn’t put down. I fell in love with how much this author could reveal about a character through the eyes of a ten year old boy and the contrast of what a boy notices in comparison to a girl, woman or man. I expanded the genres I was reading at the time outside of classic American and British literature to graphic memoirs including Fun Home by Alison Brechdel, Asian Literature: When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka and even to the teachers who might one day mentor me.

My favorite writers would have to include Edgar Allen Poe, Julie Otsuka, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler and Edward P. Jones. I mostly frequent fiction but am beginning to explore nonfiction and graphic novels. I try to read at the same time everyday, dividing the page count per week in hopes of finishing one book in one week or less depending on the length.


Write three paragraphs in the style of three different writers. Become them, and deconstruct what gives them their recognizable difference, and try to reproduce it. Learning what works for some, can help you discover what works for you.


I can’t post my paragraph echoing Julie Otsuka’s style because I am hoping to get it published soon.

James Baldwin:

I allow the arm chair in my bedroom to devour me, gazing as the sun peeks over the crimson colored bricks surrounding me, illuminating what will undoubtedly be the worst day of my life. Unlit cigarette spinning between my chapped lips, half empty bottle hanging in the loosening grasp of my right hand. I strangle its neck the same way this existence strangles me. My once black hair stained with gray, my shadow consuming the wall beside me like an infestation. If only the sun would light my cigarette aflame. My face is a mere copy of someone else, belonging neither to my mother or father. to see me would be to see someone from your past, the name catching on your tongue as it clicks behind clamped teeth. My ancestors wrote poems of hope, filled pages with ideals and dreams, starting movements in Harlem when it mattered. Then, they realized the true intellectuals were in Europe and they were fated to be forgotten, overshadowed by those who were deemed worthy by history.

Edward P. Jones:

Her mother would say, years after her daughter ceased all communication with her, that her daughter was a courageous girl for daring to love the enemy. That she admired her daughter’s endless pursuit to find the man she loved. By that time in her life she believed she had always been an exceptional mother. And having told herself this every morning and night, she could not bring herself to believe her daughter’s abandonment of the family so many years ago was provoked by her. That her only child could step out of the front door in the middle of the night and disappear without looking back.