Anyway, my book, THE RAGGEDY MAN, has been out for a few weeks, and it's getting some love. ( If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can make it up to me by going here, and purchasing one. ;)) I'm hip-deep into rewrites and edits on my second novel (which, for the life of me, I can't come up with a decent title for), and working on panels for my comic, which has been on the back burner way too long.
All of this, but - wonder of wonders - I've recently found myself with some time to read. I can't tell you how exciting that is for me. Since I was a child, I've read a minimum to 1 to 2 books a week. Sometimes more. Of course, you grow up, get a job, have a family, stuff happens, and that stretches out, and maybe you're reading a couple of books a month. But since my wife's diagnosis of breast cancer last year, and continuing health issues, I've found myself carrying around the same paperback for months at a time.
Well, things have settled down, some, and I'm able to fill the quiet moments with a little reading, which feels like coming home to me. And what am I reading? I recently finished The Lovely Bones, an amazing, heart-wrenching novel by Alice Sebold, and Finders Keepers, number 2 in the Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King. Definitely worth the prices for a hardcover, my friends. And now, I'm reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, and, The Instant Enemy, a Lew Archer novel by Ross Macdonald, on loan from a friend and fellow writer. Both are stellar mysteries, and I highly recommend them, for both readers and writers.
So, all of this is great fun for me, and hopefully, I've given you a couple of ideas for summer beach reading (seriously, if you haven't read any of the books I've mentioned, do yourself a favor and get them), but there is a greater point to be made. Talk to most established writers about how to become better at the craft, and the overwhelming response will be to write everyday, and to read everyday. Reading the works of others is almost as important as your own writing. Reading others' books, especially if they're good, can help you figure out what's right (or wrong) with your own writing. The more you read, the better sense you'll get of what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to rhythm, dialogue, narration, plot, character development, etc. If nothing else, a good book should inspire you to write, and to make every word on every page be the best you are capable of producing. The ability to write well must be continuously nurtured. And your word count in reading can be just as important as the one you're producing.
So turn off the TV, grab a book or the e-reader of your choice, and get some reading done. That's what I'm about to do.