I meet a lot of people who want to be writers and they often ask for advice or tips about writing. And one of the most important tips I give them is: ‘Read. Lots. And lots.’ Being a writer is all about being a reader, too.
You need to know what is being published, what people are reading, how others are telling stories. I think you’ll be a much better writer the more of a reader you are.
And let’s not be coy here, I would like everyone to read because it’s one of the best things in the world to do.
When you open a book, you enter a new world and you start a new relationship. That book you’ve opened, those words you’re devouring, can become a new best friend, or a challenging acquaintance, or an adversary that sets your sensibilities raging. Or it can be nothing more than something to while away a few hours. And sometimes you can experience all that with the same book!
I love books for being able to touch my heart and mind in a way no other medium can. Don’t get me wrong, I love television, film, music, and computer games, but none of them can do what a good reading experience does to me. I love being able to use my imagination to bring to life the things I’m reading about.
Which is why I try to pass on the joy that comes from immersing myself in a book by giving the gift of a good read whenever possible. I know lots of people do it, but I don’t see the harm in sending out the reminder that when you’re out doing your Christmas shopping, grab a book and spread the joy. Any book will do, most books will please, and will touch people in some way.
If you want some ideas about what to give as a present, have a look at Give A Good Read Advent Calendar of books I’ve given as gifts in the last year. (I’ll be looking every day, too, as they’ve been uploaded in an order determined by someone else.)
Let me know what you think of my gifts below (or on Twitter or Facebook) and also don’t be shy about telling me which books you’ve given or would like to give this Christmas, or what’s on your book wish list.
Happy good reading this Christmas.
How I Pick A Book
When I choose a book for someone, I go into a bookshop or look online and see if there’s anything that instantly makes me think of that person. Or I think of a conversation I’ve had with them and see if there’s a book about that subject. Or, I think of a book I’ve absolutely adored then I buy that for them to see if they will enjoy it too. If all these tried and tested tips let me down, I just ‘cheat’ and give them a good read by buying them a book token.
© Dorothy Koomson 2011
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