My first college writing instructor drilled the following into my head: to become a good writer, you must become a good reader.
And he wasn’t the only one. I remember another professor later in my college years who did not excuse his students for not reading because they didn’t have money for books. “You have the library,” he would say.
I’ve held that guideline to my heart over the years. Though I’m not a prolific reader, I really enjoy reading. So why is reading so important to a writer? Well, books can give you good ideas, can expand your vocabulary, and can teach you something new. In addition, they can also tell you what’s going on in the marketplace–what publishers are looking for.
But perhaps most interesting for a writer is that they can teach you how to write. For instance if, after reading a good novel, you sit and dissect what you liked about it you are actually training yourself to recognize what’s good in your writing.
Conversely, if you read a horrible novel and pick apart what you hated, you are training yourself to recognize flaws in your writing.
So not only does reading entertain and stimulate your imagination, it can also be an active part of writing. (Is there any wonder why I love books?)
That said, I want to know what is your favorite book? Is it an all-time favorite or a recent read? What did you like about it? You can also put down a book you disliked.
Here’s some of my favs:
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster . . . an all time favorite. I love his play on words. He uses grammar, math, and language to weave a wacky world that I love.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien . . . I just think this book is one you can read over and over again without getting tired of it.
The Last Dragon by De Mari . . . Such a simple, sweet story that turns into a love story at the end.
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy . . . a slow, boring start, but it gets sooo good at the end.
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis . . . a boy and a talking horse. What could be better?
There are more, but I’ll stop here.