In On Writing by Stephen King, he says that it’s vital for authors to be voracious readers. I agree. Not only is it important for the purposes of knowing what’s going on in the book world, it’s critical to love the product. Unlike drug dealers who are not supposed to sample the wares, having a passion for the written word is the only way any author can write authentically or powerfully.
If you don’t love reading, how can you believe anybody will love what you write?
Personally, I recommend a balanced diet of genre fiction, classics, bestsellers, books outside the genre you write, and non-fiction. I had a tablet on which I read e-books for quite a while. While I read those, I built up a large stock of paperbacks. When the tablet broke, I started reading paper thinking I’d replace the tablet when I finished the pile. I keep buying e-books with that end in mind, too. However, the funny thing is, I haven’t managed to work through the stack yet. It keeps growing faster than I can keep up. So I still don’t have a tablet. *shrug* The majority of books I read are written by friends and associates. I know some extremely talented people.
I also love audio books. I usually have one I listen to when I’m driving. Sometimes I read books aloud to my family. As an acquisitions editor, I often have a manuscript I’m reading to decide if it should be published or not or one I’m editing for a friend. I usually read those on my computer. That means I’m usually in the middle of three or four books at any one time. I’m not a fast reader, but I make up for it with chaotic simultaneous consumption.
I just finished Origin by Dan Brown (paper), In the Warmth of the Sun by P. A. Podrazik (computer), and Split Second by David Baldacci (audio). I’m currently reading The Giant’s Seat book 2 in The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie by Dave Butler (paper), When Did You See Her Last? book 2 in All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket (aloud), Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben (audio), and A New Trope book 4 in Death by Cliche by Bob Defendi (computer, editing). When I finish these I’m going to read Saved by H. A. Anderson (paper), book 3 in AtWQ, book 5 in DbC, and it’s a race between Salvation by James Wymore (coming soon!) or The Crystal King by John Olsen– depending which reader gets done with the audio book first.
I’m not sure how many books I read in 2017, but it’s probably around 30. My advice to anybody considering writing a book, stop reading if you need to make time to write. But only after you stop watching television and playing video games first. If you don’t love reading, why write a book at all? 🙂
What are you reading?