Read More. Write More?

I think that if I read more, I’d write more. That is to say, I’d steal more of others’ ideas and make them my own. I don’t think that reading makes people more able to write. If that was the case, my now deceased grandmother would have been Steinbeckian in her prose. She could’ve written Of Mice and Men just from the amount of soup can labels she read at the kitchen table. The stack of newspapers that piled next to her La-Z-Boy recliner would have helped generate at least the first 20-something chapters of The Grapes of Wrath.

No, the ability to write has nothing to do with reading. I just think reading can help take you there… to that place where you feel most comfortable typing words of your own (so to speak). But I don’t read that much.

Who has the time? I mean, when I am not working, I’m either thinking about work or doing stuff for my wife and/or kids. Not really for them so much as because they said so. I’m a weak-minded, flimsy-spined pushover. I’ve even started saying yes, ma’am and no ma’am… to my daughters. They are very convincing when they yell.

Anyway, I’m planning on growing a pair and neglecting my kids more often. What should I be reading? 



  1. For you? To Kill A Mockingbird, again, but only with no one around. A little Anne Lamott non-fiction (particularly the excellent Bird by Bird). Mary Oliver’s poetry, always. The brilliant feature writing in Esquire, except not the celeb profiles and NEVER the ones of beautiful women, which are the WORST. Also the annual anthology of The Best American Sportswriting, which doesn’t have anything to do with you being a guy but a lot to do with combining brilliance and emotion and accessing the deep and amazing side of things that seem like just-games until you really look.

    That’s what I got. Gotta go email a guy in China, which is my writing task for tonight.

  2. Oh… And the blessed essays of EB White. I love in particular the compilation “Writings from The New Yorker 1925-1976.”

  3. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all-time favorite. Absolutely beautiful.

    I have never read Lamott, and feel a bit ashamed having to admit that.

    The sports writing anthology sounds perfect… and to your last suggestion of EB White, I’m in. I have read Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker no less than 13 times. You should check that out if you haven’t already.

    Thanks, Carol.

  4. Beautifully and simply written and funny….The Ladies #1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.
    Also, most anything by Pearl S. Buck.

    That’s my two cents for ya….

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