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I cannot stress enough the importance of reading in the life of a writer.
I'm not going to go on and on about it in this post, but yeah, you should be reading.
I can hear you asking now, "What am I supposed to read?" The short answer is everything you can find. Any book you can get your hands on will only help you improve your craft. Of course, it's also important to read books in your genre so you can avoid the tropes and cliches that come with the territory.
You also need to read the classics.
The classics are classic for very good reasons. They can teach you more about writing than most classes and professors can. If you'd like to start reading classic literature, I have a few suggestions for you.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you haven't read this book yet, what's taking you so long? This novel has some of the most captivating description and imagery that I've ever read. I'm also a fan of Fitzgerald's characters. Every one of them is clearly flawed yet still sympathetic. Read this book!
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Orwell's world-building skills are spectacular. He takes a world we think we know and turns it on its head, to terrifying effect. This novel is one of the earliest examples of a dystopian society in literature, too. If you like The Hunger Games and Divergent, you have Orwell to thank. Plus, after reading this book, you can correct everyone who thinks Big Brother is watching him or her.
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. This novel is highly psychological and wonderful to read. It's in the same vein as Jane Eyre though a little less intimidating because it's more modern. I couldn't put this book down, and the twist... well, let's just say it will definitely keep you guessing. This novel is suspenseful, dramatic, and one of my all-time favorites.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. In his only novel, Wilde seamlessly mixes wit and humor with serious drama. It illustrates concepts of morality without being preachy and is overall one of the best books I can think of. Check it out.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Like The Great Gatsby, Jane Eyre is a novel you've probably read already. Still, I would encourage you to read it with new eyes. It presents the Gothic romance and the Byronic hero in ways that echo even in the present day. Read it.
These are just a few classic books that I think you should read. Hopefully these novels will mark the beginning of your journey into classic literature.
What do you think of these books? How has reading helped you become a better writer?