I’m not sure if this is common knowledge among writers (you never really know) but it’s always worth pointing out that if you want to become a better writer than you were yesterday, you must read everything.
”I’m influenced by everything I read, shamelessly. ‘In a review someone said, ‘Oh, she sounds very much like Amis.’ I was flattered by that. I love Amis. Thank you very much. I think if I carry on plagiarizing for 15 years, it will settle like silt, and I’ll write something really great.”— Zadie Smith, via The New York Times
And that goes with anything that involves words and sentences. Even as relatively innocuous as a tweet, which requires one to read enough tweets to become one decent enough to gain a multitude followers. (Of course, the alternative is to just blurt shit out and I guess that has impact, too.)
But if you want to be thoughtful and be able to convey what you want to say in such a limited word space, you’d have to study the best twitter accounts and the best twitter accounts are often created by writers who write often — and presumably read often.
For me, when it comes to writing, nothing boosts my will to put words down on an empty Word document than reading a fine line of prose or poetry, and so I read as much as I can, and the three books that I’ve picked up recently — that I would also recommend to anyone who loves to read — are:
- Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan
- Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld by David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro
- The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America edited by Garrett Hongo
I haven’t finished any of these books, but if you happen to be reading or have read any of these books, let’s start a discussion.
The Open Boat will definitely be part of my ongoing rotation with so many gems that I will for sure come back to for many years to come. Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is original and endlessly entertains. Yakuza not only details the criminal underworld of Japan, but it also provides some insight on how the Japanese people live, their values, their core.
What are you reading today?