14 Jul Kerri Miller, Stephen King & Writers on Reading
Stephen King said, “Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
A writer who doesn’t read is like a diver who doesn’t swim. You might fall gracefully into the water, but then you’re kind of up a creek, so to speak.
King goes on to say, “The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.” Since I’m not interested in making more of a fool of myself than is absolutely necessary, I read.
I find the more I read, the more I long for really well written books. It’s like a perpetual treasure hunt, filled with false leads, promising roads, and a whole lot of bad beginnings. But it’s a journey I not only love, but need.
Recently, I came across a new favorite place to find some “You’ve Got to Read This Book” kind of advice: Kerri Miller.
The Thread: This exclusive weekly book pick and literary news site is my favorite go to place to learn about books. Kerri’s coverage is exceptional and diverse. It might cover expected topics in new ways,” The Best Books of the 21 Century (So Far),” or be bizarre and relatively unheard of such as the recent, “Why a fictional character gets an annual festival in Lindstrom, Minn.” I look forward to the weekly email. And often, one of two of Kerri’s books end up on my reading list.
The Thread Book Club: Every month, The Thread Book Club selects a book and invites the author for a conversation in the studio. Readers can join the conversation and submit their own questions for the author. This month’s pick is Patricia Park’s, Re Jane. A modern retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, with its own modern flare. Park recasts Jane as a first generation Korean-American in New York City, struggling to find her place. What’s not to love?
In order to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. I used to read just for the pleasure of it, in order to fall into a new world, a different place, someone else’s life. Since I’ve become a writer, I also read to hone my work. I read other writers and then tear their books apart. How did she do that? I underline favorite sentences, favorite transitions, places where the book shines.
The Best Advice Ever for a budding writer? Read. Read. Read. Or as Stephen King more bluntly said, “If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.”
The photo, a cross section of my current reads, is actually a pretty good overview of my taste in reading.
Narrative Nonfiction: The Boy Who Played with Fusion
Fiction: A Friend of the Earth
Essay: Many Alarm Clocks
Prison/Jail writing: Locked Down, Locked Out
Art: The Lost Carving
Writing: The Write Crowd
Medical: Body of Work
Spiritual: Lioness Arising
Local Author: Undiscovered Country
I think the only genre I routinely read that isn’t showing is The Classics (which I read constantly) and Dystopian YA.