Monday, July 6, 2009

What Writers Read?

I read an interesting blog on another site that started a discussion of what books in certain genres you've never read. Most writers are voracious readers not only in the genre they write but in many others.
Personally, I write romance and fantasy, sometime combining the two and sometimes not. I've read thousands of romance books over the years including perhaps the best known world wide, Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's writings hold a prominent spot on my bookshelves. And how could I write fantasy without having read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? But must I have read those masters to be a successful writer in those genres? Austen and Tolkien certainly didn't write in a style that would be accepted by today's publishing world.
Should an author entering the young adult market have read Harry Potter and Twilight? That market seems to be booming with many new writers finding success.
Should a writer read all of Oprah's recommendations if they're goal is literary fiction?
I don't write contemporary romance or fiction but if I did should I read Nora Roberts? Should I read Lee Childs or Robert Parker if I want to develop a contemporary suspense/thriller character to carry on a long running series? What do you think? Are there must reads for authors searching for success in certain genres?

2 comments:

Scott said...
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Lori M. Myers said...

I'm a firm believer in "writing is writing." I tell my students - even if they only write romance or children's lit - to read it all, including poetry. The good aspects will show up in subtle ways in whatever genre writing you do. I think that's particularly true when we read the classics. Good for you, Susan, in saving a prominent spot for Jane Austen!