Friday, December 10, 2010

Wanna write...gotta read

There's almost too much to read, what with Kindle and the number of "dead tree" format books lying about the house.

Most recently I've been reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro, a book of short stories I bought at the small bookstore in Guerenville over Thanksgiving this year. We always visit The River Reader when there, and just as always buy something(s).

In addition, I'm reading The Philip K. Dick Reader. Again, short stories, by a master storyteller.

If I want to write short stories, and I do, it behooves me to read some good ones. To enjoy, certainly. But also, and I find this is often how I read these days, to dig into how the story is constructed, how written, how the author communicates with the reader. How the shared world is constructed in that communication.

Last year, while reading the collected stories of Eudora Welty (I have yet to finish the book), I wrote what I consider to be my best short story yet.

What a panel of Masters is available to me, at whose feet I can sit that I may learn.

And what a delightful way to learn!


  1. So true. I think all good writers are also critical (in the best sense of the word) readers.

  2. Agreed, Jon. I agree with Francine Prose (won't she be just delighted?) in her book "Reading like a Writer", you can learn from Masters, if you read - as you suggest - critically.