(books/reading) The importance of reading

I know, second week, and already, I’m not giving you a review.  However, I’m still in the middle of the books (yes, plural) that I’m currently reading, and I don’t want to give you guys a half-assed review.  So instead, I’m going to give you my thoughts on reading.


I’ve always been a reader.  Of everything.  I was the kid who would read the back of the cereal box while eating breakfast.  My parents are both avid readers, and all four of us kids grew up with more books than TV shows.  Even to this day, I read every day, and just about everything.


And that’s a big part of my philosophy – you cannot be a good writer without being a reader.  Reading teaches you so much more than you realize, even as a child.  It teaches you about how to craft a story, how to draw someone into the worlds in your head, how to breathe life into the ghosts that populate your imagination.  Reading populates the imagination in the first place – it gives you what several of my friends call “plot bunnies” that hop around and spawn stories of their own.  And yes, before you yell at me, you can get plot bunnies from other things, but reading is the holy grail of them all.


And it’s not just fiction.  Non-fiction gives you the same kind of plot bunny fodder, because there’s so much that is weird about this world.  I’m addicted to all sorts of non-fiction, although my tastes run currently to quantum physics, astronomy and food.  I also love history.


So when I hear folks tell me “I don’t read, because I don’t want to get ideas from others,” it makes me sad.  It makes me wonder what they missed out on, and if they even realize it.  To me, reading is like breathing.  I can go without food.  I can’t go without books, and honestly, I think my writing is the better for it.


I’m often asked for my advice to new or aspiring writers, and my best advice (other than sit in the chair and write) is simply “Read.”  Read whatever you can get your hands on, whether it is good or bad or indifferent.  Read everything.  Read anything.


Just read.

2 Responses to “(books/reading) The importance of reading”

Leave a Reply