Why We Read

One of the best books on nonfiction writing is by a fiction writer: Stephen King. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is indispensable because of its economy and common sense. King is best known for writing horror, suspense, fantasy, and crime, but that’s beside the point. He has elevated whatever he does to a high level of craftsmanship. If you’re a writer, or an aspiring writer, of nonfiction, read it and you will prosper.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut”

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that”

“The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as long swallows.”

“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing; one comes to the country of the writer with one’s papers and identification pretty much in order. Constant reading will pull you into a place (a mind-set, if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor”