Currently, I’m working on a documentary as part of an Introduction to Documentaries class. Appropriately enough, the subject is the Literacy Council of Montgomery County. The organization is located in Rockville Memorial Library. One thing I’ve come to appreciate from making this film is that reading is fundamental to succeeding in life.

Literacy is about more than just reading books. Being literate makes the difference between getting a job and being unemployed (or underemployed). Literacy also affects one’s ability to function day-to-day in society. In order to do the simplest things, one must be able to read. Such things include getting a driver’s license, buying a car, applying for a loan, setting up a bank account, and writing checks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Washington, DC area has a growing population of immigrants who need to learn to read. On top of that, and much to my dismay, there are many people born right here who (for whatever reason) can’t read or write basic English. The importance of literacy groups to provide services to such people cannot be overstated.

All my life, I’ve been an avid reader. I feel fortunate to have had parents and grandparents who read to me or told me oral stories when I was a child. I’m sure that this explains in large part why I became a writer.

When I decided I wanted to write for a living, one of the first pieces of advice I got from other writers was to “read, read, read.” And that’s what I do. I read all sorts of things. Not just mysteries or other books in my genre, either. I read a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and other books. I also read screenplays, because I’m also writing them these days.

Here’s some of the reading I’m doing in May:

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