R is for Reading
I'm sure you've heard it multiple times: a writer must also be a reader. I don't think it matters what you read, although some people say you should become an expert in whichever genre you want to write.
To me, simply the act of devouring any and all books is powerful.
When I was teaching middle school, I enforced ten minutes of silent reading at the start of each class (it helps that I was teaching Language Arts). The observant kids noticed how many books I would go through in a week, and they were always astounded. What they didn't notice was that some of their classmates were reading even more than me, and I have no doubt that one day I'll see some familiar names on books.
As a child, I read all the time. I counted up my books and attempted to catalog them (a precursor to my career as a librarian, I suppose). I remember the pride I felt when my childhood book collection surpassed 500.
Whenever my family traveled, I read in the back seat of the car long after sunset. I got really good at holding the book up so I could catch the passing streetlights. My dad was convinced I would go blind.
I read for pleasure. Sure, I read in my genre, but I also read books that friends recommend, or that end up on various awards lists. I read random titles that my husband grabs on impulse at the library. For me, reading is an escape, but it's also a crash course in craft.
The more I've written, the more I've found myself analyzing plot and character when I'm reading something for fun. It can be annoying, but at the same time, I feel like I'm continuously learning from the best. In turn, I've noticed changes in my writing that have gradually crept in the more conscious of the words of others I've become. It's a spiral of growth, and I am so glad that, for whatever reason, I discovered the joys of reading at a young age. It's a love affair that's never cooled, and never will.
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Why do you read? What's your favorite book-related memory? What do you read?