Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wisdom on Wednesdays: Read Up

We writers hear a lot about reading widely. We're supposed to read a lot of our genre, but also a lot of everything else. We're supposed to read great stuff, mediocre stuff, and not-so-mediocre stuff. We're supposed to read literary and commercial.

Read, read, read.

Well, I'm not arguing with that.

But I'm here today to make the case for reading up more often than anything else. And by that, I mean read the books that are so well-written, they leave your ego in tatters. Read books that are so amazing, they make you want to slip inside them and live among their post-apocalyptic pages. Read books that, in one way or another, are so far beyond what you are writing that you have to stop yourself from actually screaming with the knowledge of it.

Because if you're like me, noting forces you to up your game more than the realization that you haven't broken through the ceiling of what is possible yet. Read books that show you where the ceiling really is.

Read up.

I've been reading books by John Green and Tahereh Mafi. What have you been reading?


  1. "Books that leave your ego in tatters." That book for me was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

  2. Ah, that one's on my to-read list, Kristin. Good to know that it will be worth the read!

  3. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. When I finished it, I quite literally clutched it to my chest and sobbed with the knowledge that I will never create anything so perfect. Robin McKinley, Peter S. Beagle, and Terry Pratchett also kill me every time. And now Moira Young (Blood Red Road, I adore thee!).

  4. Lindsey, thanks for the recommendations. I've heard great things about BLOOD RED ROAD and THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS. What I love about reading great books is that it makes me more determined than ever to make my own book as good as it can be.

  5. I recently read THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield and ended up in the bathtub for three hours because I had to finish it!

  6. Right now I'm reading Killing Pablo, by Bowden. I like to sandwich nonfiction between my reading.