I love to read. The love of reading is not a prerequisite for a life in publishing, but it's what got me here.
My favorite books are usually fiction--all kinds of fiction. But last night I began reading A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. My reading group chose it as our January selection and it's a long book. I figured I'd better get started because I'm not a fast reader.
This book tells how Abraham Lincoln chose his cabinet. Rumor has it that Barack Obama read this book and has used it as a model for his own work in filling out his cabinet.
After I had read a few pages I took a deep breath and realized that I was in the hands of a master writer. Have you ever had that feeling? It's so soothing, yet exhilarating to know that the author you have chosen is in total command of this book and, as his or her "passenger," you are going to have a wonderful time.
It may seem odd that agents read so much. After all, we read submissions from potential clients every day. Wouldn't it make sense to do something else in our free time like going bowling or decorating the laundry room? It's imperative that we read and that we read the best books we can find. We need to compare our submissions to competing authors out there and to hold our potential clients to a very high standard if we expect to sell their work to publishers. I look forward to finding a submission that will give me that kind of "master writer" feeling I'm having with Doris Kearns Goodwin. I has happened a few times and it's what agents live for.
But, it's just as important for writers to read constantly. It's a good place to get your inspiration and it may help you hone your craft. If you're a sci-fi author, you should be reading every sci-fi book you can get your hands on. But don't stop there! Read the classics. Read romances and histories. The more widely you read the more widely you can write.
What books inspire you? I'd love to hear from you.