Yesterday while browsing in Borders I came across a display on which was featured Lane Smith’s new title, It’s a Book. Although it’s a bit snarky for young kids, everyone who loves picture books should read it–or, better yet, buy it. Cause, let’s face it, if we don’t buy books–those of us who claim to love them and want them to stay around–then they truly will cease to exist. Admittedly, I did not buy this book, but I did read it and laughed my socks off. Later in the day I headed out to my local and fabulous independent bookstore, Powell’s, and bought three other books.
I think one of the most irritating things I ever hear from wannabe writers is “I love to write but I don’t read much.” Hmmm . . . Last week, while at Boyds Mills near Honesdale, Pennsylvania, I taught two workshops (one with a lot of help from others and one on my own). During that same ten days I read nine novels. That’s not unusual. If I don’t read at least five novels a week, I feel like a total slacker.
I guess to me a writer saying he or she doesn’t read much is like a surgeon saying “I missed most of the classes on how the heart works, but I feel totally competent when it comes to coronary bypass surgeries. I’m sure your operation will go just fine.”
No. No it won’t.
I can’t remember who it was who offered this simple formula for learning to write: Read, read, read . . . write, write, write. I do know I agree wholeheartedly with that particular word doctor’s prescription.
If you don’t read, you can still enjoy Lane Smith’s book here: