The real importance of reading.

by Todd Foley


This pile of books sits right by my bedside. I look at them each night before going to sleep, eagerly anticipating the experience of discovering the stories and characters therein.

I got all of these books as Christmas gifts, giving me an exciting reading list for 2013. Most have been adapted into films, only two of which I have seen. “The book is always better than the movie,” most people say, so I look forward to following up with the films afterward and making my own assessment.

I put all of these books on my wish list because reading, to me as a writer, is the most effective form of creative exercise. Yes, this age-old metaphor is incredibly overused, but for a reason: it’s true. I can’t count the times I’ve finished a novel and thought, I wish I had envisioned that character and plot. Then I scratch my head as I try to imagine the grueling journey the author must have endured to accomplish the completed work. All in all, I’m often left in awe.

How does reading influence your writing? What genres are you attracted to, and why?

“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing . .  . It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.”
– Stephen King