A Writer’s Perspective on Reading
Yes, I am a writer. I love to write. I love making up stories about unusual pictures such as abandoned buildings, foggy forests, ravens, and writing prompts. I’m even learning to write short personal essays, which are hard for me. However, I am also a reader. If I could figure out a way, I would read novels and non-fiction at the same time I’m writing my own stuff. I know, there are audible books, but it’s not the same as reading the actual words. I’ve listened to a few audible books and they were good, but I don’t get the same impact from reading the actual text.
I think my love of reading is genetic since both my parents loved to read. Dad enjoyed mysteries, science fiction, and fantasy, while mom enjoyed mysteries, the occasional thriller, and romance novels. Going to the library was always fun. When I was young I used to read under the covers using a flashlight. Or when my parents said it was time for bed, I would put them off by saying “Let me read one more chapter! Please!” Of course, four chapters later I was still up. In school, I preferred reading to gossiping with other students. Yes, the proverbial bookworm, nose always stuck in a book.
I love reading thrillers, fantasy, paranormal, mysteries, PI stories, police procedurals, adventure, some horror, some Steampunk, and some historical fiction. I don’t care for erotica or romance novels. As for non-fiction books I read ancient and lost civilizations, ancient warfare, earth cataclysms, and some science books. For me, reading goes hand in hand with writing. If a book has a lot of sex scenes, I won’t continue reading it. Books that are extremely gory or violent I won’t pick up either. Not that I’m squeamish, but that type of storyline doesn’t interest me. There are a few classics that I enjoy reading: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, and Edgar Allen Poe.
I’ve heard it said a lot of writers don’t like reading. How can they not like reading? Reading is a wonderful escape from our mundane world. Books allow us to explore places and learn about others without leaving the comfort of our chair, bed, or sofa. It makes me wonder what a writer who doesn’t read do for fun: Watch TV, play games, party, smoke wacky tobacco? Do they spend their free time mucking around on Facebook or texting their friends and family? What can they possibly learn from doing that?
By reading books by other authors you increase the knowledge of your writing craft. You can also learn more about the genres you are writing in. Study the style and pacing of the best selling authors in the genre you are writing in.
As a writer you should also be reading books about writing, to increase your knowledge for better writing and self-editing. Reading non-fiction books you can gain new ideas for plots, short stories, protagonists and antagonists, settings, and technology.
How much do I love reading? Right now my To Be Read Collection on my Kindle has 511 eBooks. I also have another Collection set up for eBooks that I really enjoy and like to read again. The characters and storylines in those books sing to me. When I do read a book again, the writer in me lurks in the background, peering over my shoulder and studying the writing on the screen. Yes, I do spot mistakes, but most of the eBooks I re-read have very few of them.
On the other side of the coin reading a badly edited book will show you what NOT to do. I’ve read several of those and cringe each time that I do. They serve as a reminder to edit, proofread and edit some more. You are better than that error filled eBook so prove it!
So stop sitting around and watching that silly reality show. Pick up a book and read!
One more thing, when you finish reading a book, leave a review for the author. They truly appreciate it.
May the words ever flow!