It’s a statement recited multiple times to young children; reading is fundamental. Many writers hear something similar. It is said that reading makes you a better writer. In a previous post, I detail why reading is important and how it took me a while to figure it out. However, does it matter what you read? I could understand if you were reading academic journals or textbooks, but what about other genres? What if you’re reading comedy or horror? How does it really help you improve? These are the questions I sought after.
Originally, my thoughts were that the flow of the book would act as an example for authors when organizing their material. I also thought the authors could learn more vocabulary when reading other works. I did some research and I found out it doesn’t matter what you’re reading. As long as you’re reading, it improves your writing. Here’s how reading improves an author’s writing.
I was right about one thing, reading does improve vocabulary. It exposes the reader to more words than a television show or even a conversation between peers. When you have a better vocabulary you can better explain scenarios and paint better imagery within your books. Your newfound adjectives and verbs will deepen your reader’s overall view of the setting and plots you’re writing.
In my search, I found that reading helps improve the health of the brain. This article says it’s just as good as jogging or exercising. It also improves the blood flow to the brain. Reading improves brain functions like memory and decreases the brain’s decline that comes with age. Also according to the article,
“Those who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities.”
Relating to Others
Some writers hang around people that are similar to their characters and they have a hard time relating to other people that are dissimilar to them. Reading helps writers relate to other ethnic groups and socioeconomic statuses. If you’re Black and don’t hang around present-day Native Americans, how would you know how they would respond to certain situations?
The article cites a scientific study that says losing yourself in a book is truly relaxing. I believe relaxation is the key to writing. When I’m relaxing, I feel at ease and my creative juices flow better than when I’m stressing over the material I plan to write. The concept is also backed by a cognitive neuropsychologist.
Where to Find Books
Although the article prefers traditional softcover or hardcover books to ebooks, as long as you’re reading, I think you’re writing will still improve. I came across a site that tailors books to your preferred genres. It sends an email with book suggestions and also has a daily list of free and discounted ebook titles. Their discounted titles are usually $0.99 to $2.99. Here’s what their website says.
“BookBub features limited-time offers for the best free books in over twenty genres, from both top-tier publishers and critically-acclaimed independent authors. These free ebooks are available on all devices, including Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Android”.
Click here for their free ebook list and don’t forget to check them out for great titles to read. The only thing is that you have to join their mailing list. In order to view their site, you have to sign up using your email, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I get their daily emails and they give their customers a choice of how to purchase books (free or paid). You can purchase through Amazon or Google. Lastly, they will also send you a list of articles to read. This can give you great ideas when looking for writing ideas for blog posts.
I hope this list will motivate you to improve your writing by reading more books. I also hope that the resource given will help you to find books you love to read, therefore making it easier to improve your writing skills.