I went through a short stint where I wasn't reading anything other than blogs, twitter, and Facebook updates for a few weeks. I very quickly missed the regular time I spent reading novels and took a trip to the library as soon as I could. Occasionally I go through these phases when I read a lot all at once and then take a break and then jump right back in again.
I grew up reading the Bible with my family and my parents instilled a love of reading in me early on. My mom thinks that any leisure reading is a waste of time so I lean toward the belief that I got my love of reading from my Grandmother's genes. I enjoyed the assigned reading I had in Middle School and High School. I learned to love some of the classics, although I didn't read nearly as many as I would have liked. I also made time outside of school to read things that interested me.
I have found that this variety of reading has helped me with my writing. I have a more extensive vocabulary and more examples of different kinds of characters floating around in my mind. You learn something different from everything you read whether it is about characters, plot, relationships, or action sequences.
Juliet Marillier over at Writer Unboxed wrote a post about the importance of reading to enhance your writing back in July. "A writer’s language, vocabulary and storytelling style are loosely formed from childhood reading, then broaden and deepen with exposure to new and varied reading material as an adult."
She points out that you can find all sorts of material from the things you read. I am not one to keep up with the news generally, but Juliet points out that reading articles and news can give you great ideas. I'm seriously considering this advice.
Another point she made has got me thinking - foreign works. I think I'm pretty well versed in American and English classics, but I haven't a clue where to start in venturing into the classics of the other great cultures of our world. I'd gladly welcome any suggestions...
There sure are a lot of books out there, huh? Better get reading!!