What do writers read? Well, if you’re me the answer is-- not nearly enough!
As I write this we are six weeks in to 2009 and so far this year I’ve read books on neuroscience and dog training, behavioral psychology and marketing-- and behavioral psychology as it pertains to marketing!--sociology and economics. I’ve read two memoirs, one futuristic fantasy, one horror, one speculative fiction, two mysteries, two suspense/thrillers and one book of poetry.
Before the year is out I will have read biographies, women’s fiction, a great deal of “literature” (thanks to a relentless book club that keeps trying to improve me), some Southern fiction, a travel book or two, adventure, a multitude of best sellers, self-help and (thanks again, book club!) at least one Pulitzer Prize winner. And I still will not have read all of the books I should have, certainly not as many as I want to.
I consider reading a part of my job. I have my favorites, of course, and I do listen to a lot of the commercial best-sellers on audio, but I need to know what other people are reading, and what other people are writing, in order to do my job as a writer well. In one of my recent beginner-writer workshops I read off a list of the year’s top twenty-five best sellers--hardcover and soft, fiction and non--and asked participants for a show of hands for each book they’d read. I was stunned at how few of them had read more than ten percent of the books on the list. How can you expect to write books if you don’t read them?
Reading is not only my job, it my joy. Every book I open is filled with promise and expectation. It could change my life. It could take me places I’ve never been before, or make me see the places I have been in a new light. It could make me a better person. How can you not read?
So today’s question is: What are you reading?