Why is Reading Important?
One of my favorite blogs that I read each week is Anne R. Allen’s blog, which she co-blogs with Ruth Harris. Their posts are always top quality. In a recent post she describes delusions that many authors have about writing, one of them being not reading, especially in your own genre. Anne asserts that you should always have a book that you are reading. I generally read one book for pleasure (sci-fi or fantasy) and one book as a beta read for other authors. Currently I’m reading a pre-release copy of the second book in Eve of Redemption Series by Joe Jackson. This book is just as good as his first novel and when it is published I plan to review on Amazon and Goodreads. He has really put in the time to learn his craft and that is evident in his books. The book that I am beta reading now is actually my own.
Reading to Review
I also read books to review for other authors and post some of them here. I have really enjoyed this and learned something from every book and every author. Thinking about the book then organizing my thoughts into a coherent review helps with my understanding of the underlying themes in the book. I often learn something new about the book that I didn’t pick up in simply reading it when I sit down to write the review. There is so much to learn even from fiction, some authors place inspiring themes deep in the novels that are like nuggets of gold when you find them.
Who Can Benefit from Reading?
The other reason I am highlighting this point, is that reading is important for even non-writers. While everyone may not want to read two books at one time, everyone should be reading one book. What are you reading now? What adventure are you going on? What exciting places are you visiting? Are you visiting Paris in the spring or an imaginary land that the author has cleverly crafted for you? The point is that everyone needs to be reading. It opens your creativity, your imagination, and is far more active cognitively than just watching TV. Not all TV is bad. I originally found my inspiration for the novel from a series on H2 entitled Ancient Aliens and I’m sure the X-Files has influenced my novel as well. Reading is a more active form of entertainment that engages the brain in imagination and stimulates us long after the book is put down.
What to Read?
If you are a writer or want to be a writer, first visit Anne R. Allen’s blog and sign up for her weekly emails. Then start reading books about writing. On Writing Well by Stephen King, Elements of Style by William J. Strunk, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield are my top three favorite books on writing. If you have no inclination to become a writer, that is still excellent because writers always need readers! Start with the classics and move to more current novels. I started with the classics in science fiction and fantasy, because that is the genre I prefer to read and write in. I also read quite a bit of non-fiction as well. The best non-fiction book I’ve read recently is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This book is a life changer!
I am planning on reading/re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I can’t recall if I read it in school or not, but I was inspired to re-read it recently from a meditation I completed. So, I’ve ordered a copy from Amazon and a paperback copy is already on its way. It doesn’t matter where you start, but just start reading somewhere.
As Yoda would say, “Do or do not, there is no try.” And as another wise sage once said, “Oh the Places You Will Go.” So Do pick up a book and go on an exciting adventure!