Dixie Darr

Learning from Novels

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I’m serious–maybe even obsessive–about learning as much as possible from all my activities. Since my favorite activity is reading, it stands to reason that I need to learn from reading. For years, that meant that I read nonfiction almost exclusively. When I started reading fiction, I learned that novels could also be a source of learning.

Specifically, I could learn about other cities, regions, countries, and occupations from reading novels. I chose Adriana Trigiani’s Very Valentine and Brava Valentine because they were about a custom shoe designer in Greenwich Village. Before reading these two books, I had no idea how cobblers made shoes. Of course, my knowledge now is purely superficial, but that’s fine. I don’t plan to make any shoes myself.

Next on my reading list is a mystery set in the beekeeping industry. I’ve been fascinated by beekeeping since reading Sue Hubbell’s memoir, A Country Year. Okay, that one isn’t a novel. The wildly popular The Secret Life of Bees intensified my interest in beekeeping, although again, I am not planning on setting any hives.

I do like to make handbound books, which explains my affinity for Kate Carlisle’s bibliophile mysteries. I also like books about New Orleans, librarians, remodelers, Indians, paper crafters, artists, and small business owners. Sometimes they send me scurrying to Google to learn more, and sometimes I’m happy with the snippets of knowledge gleaned between plot lines. It’s all good.


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