The Bradbury Effect: Learning From Reading
The phenomenon of making a connection with an exceptional book is something that interests me. That connection is even stronger when a reader connects with a first rate author in such a way as to make a life long impression. What is it about remarkable books that spark a lasting relationship with their reader? Part of that answer is the language. Language is an art and, as such, it can be appreciated in all of its contexts.
Listening to Readers
Readers who share similar interests have deeper conversations about authors and works by those authors. One such author, for me, is Ray Bradbury. Two years ago I began to re-read some of the books I enjoyed as a teen. When I go to Fahrenheit 451, it was just as powerful and addicting as it had been when I was 16. Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World was just as captivating. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, exceptional! Those were the books that touched me. These authors fueled my love of reading, which lit the flame for my love of writing. That is just one way that reading has helped me become a better writer.
Reading is one of the most-powerful tools that writers have, the gateway that leads to a remarkable number of positives. It is how we learn about new concepts, how we learn to write better sentences, paragraphs, and even books. Everything we take in can translate to what we write and how we write.
I remember overhearing a conversation once in a coffee shop. It was between two would-be authors who were struggling to write the perfect novel. The comment that struck me was, “It will take me another five years even to have the vocabulary to write a book.” I thought to myself then, That person is never going to write a book. So caught up in the process of writing the “perfect” novel that they did not realize that writing is not just an art, but also a skill to be developed.
How Can You Become A Better Writer by Reading?
- Challenge yourself.
- Read books that become progressively more difficult to read. In so doing, you will build a vocabulary of higher caliber.
- Use your dictionary. When you come across a word you do not understand, look it up, and then use it as often as you can.
- Make a list of words you read and love, then use them.
- Be willing to learn from reading. Reading for pleasure is an awesome experience, but take some of what you read home with you.
- Talk about what you read. Join a book club or online chat forum.
- Research top book lists to find books you will enjoy.
As a writer, reading helps. Content writers should make it a point to read content within the industries for which they write; if you’re one of the many press release writers that writes within the oil industry, study up on the industry’s big players and news. Undoubtedly, you will pick up vocabulary and concepts useful to your trade.
To close out this blog, enjoy a quote from Ray Bradbury himself:
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
David S grew up in a house without television and in a time before there was an internet. Reading was not just a pastime, but a love affair he continues today. Being an active reader has made David a better writer.