If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others, read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcuts.” – Stephen King
Like King, I don’t read to study the craft; I read because I like to read. I love to see through other eyes and travel to times and places my body can’t go. I enjoy a shift in POV, a change of pace, a borrowed sense of wonder.
I make it a habit to read at least 100 books a year, a mix of non-fiction and fiction. My eclectic tastes run to everything from science (The Physics of Consciousness) to nonsense (Dave Barry’s History of the Millennium), from philosophy (God and Philosophy) to physiology (Another Day in the Frontal Lobe), from biography (The Eccentric Billionaire) to business (Nuts), and theology (Surprised by Hope) to futurology (The Black Swan).
Each year, I note my Top Five books. For 2008 they are:
Anticancer– David Servan-Schreiber
On Writing – Stephen King
The Culture Code– Clotaire Rapaille
The Tender Bar– J. R. Moehringer
Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
To balance these with a couple of fiction books, I would add:
Playing for Pizza– John Grisham
Smoky Joe’s Cafe – Bryce Courtenay
Stretch your mind over strange vistas and new ideas and it will never be the same. But realize the risks. Knowledge enables but it can also eviscerate. Too much of it can lead to a real case of St. Paul’s supposed malady: Acts 26:24.