Do some books help more than other books to improve writing?
Is reading the "classics" helpful for writing, story telling, or both?
Stories i have found useful are ones that, like Dragon Dreams, lead me off into the far realms so distant from me, or those nearby, but it matters not so long as i want to write of them.
im sure some are better than others but i think it depends on what your looking for what ever it is i hope you find it
Undoubtedly the classics help with learning about different techniques and approaches. Not every classic is like Austen though - that's why it really pays off to read widely. I read as widely as I can, choosing books that are completely unrelated to each other. If I've read some fantasy, then I'll go for something non-fiction next, or perhaps a thriller, or whatever. And I find that this helps to stop me from copying any one particular style as well - if I'm writing fantasy, and I only read fantasy I start to find that the work I'm producing is really not original at all, and my work starts to really resemble that of other authors.
Reading anything at all is essential to learning how to write. I've learned so much in the past two years from changing my reading material. Genres that I'd never been interested in before, such as crime or romance, have opened up whole new ways of thinking to me. Invaluable.
To answer your question more directly, I don't think there are particular genres that help more than others - all kinds of reading has something offer, even if it's just to teach us what NOT to do!
There is a book of writing related quotes from Ernest Hemingway that I found invaluable. It's called (amazingly enough) Ernest Hemingway on Writing and it was edited by one Larry W. Phillips.
Most writers also love to read. And you can learn a lot about the craft of writing by reading about what has worked for others and what hasn't. Here is a list of ten books that have helped my own writing. read more
Gotham's Writers' Workshop
Bird by Bird -Ann Lamott
Writing Down the Bones -Natalie Goldberg
I have read dozens of "how to write" books and these are my "Go-To" books, whether it be for inspiration or for advice on the craft of writing (Gotham is superb)
Buy all three. You won't be disappointed. Good Luck!
PS I think I'll take my own advice and pull one of these out for another re-read.
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