Everyone knows that, as writers, we need to be well-read. Anyone who feels that they are above that is kidding themselves. There is no running away from the hypocrisy of it. You can’t write a book, hope others will read it, if you have no idea what readers are waiting for.
Books, as a whole, are always adapting. If you read from Victor Hugo, Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, and the like, you will see a transformation over the years. What is typically called a “classic” would probably not sell in today’s market if it were a new book. I love a good classic, but it is more important for a writers to stay current.
Does this mean that you should stop reading the books that shaped how we write today? Not if you want to. Read what interests you, just keep in mind that it is more important to read what’s happening now. The market is always changing and you need to keep up. I still have to read Fablehaven, Mistborn, and Maze Runner – among others. Yes, I am WAY behind.
I began writing fifteen months ago and it took me a while before I realized how out of date my bookshelf was. Yes, I read The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series when they came out, but I was missing out on a mountain of words. Now I am desperate to catch up.
I just finished The Book Thief and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. I think I found my new favorite book. Here is my GoodReads review:
Wow! This was not a fast read, in fact, it was a heavy process. The subject matter is heartbreaking, but the execution is impeccable. Markus Zusak’s prose was beautiful, poetic, and sad. I loved this book. The raw emotions were honest. Pure.
Here’s video of Markus Zusak talking about The Book Thief. If you haven’t read it, don’t watch it. There are some minor SPOILERS!