EzineArticles Asks: What Are You Reading?

Want to connect with your audience?

Be a sponge:

Read!

Expert Author articles, books by famous authors, books by not-so-famous authors, news articles by ground-breaking journalists, posts by leading bloggers, and more – read everything and anything you can get your hands on. Thumb through celebrated periodicals and even divulge in a little guilty pleasure by browsing through those tabloids waiting at most checkouts – whatever you do read, absorb it and reflect on what you read.

These reflections will help you understand an author’s approach as well as the nuances and tricks of writing a convincing story that engages readers. And you need engaged readers who are compelled by your writing. A compelled reader will want more of what you offer by continuing from your article and on to your website because you’ve resonated with their needs and interests by striking a chord with them.

Without an engaged audience, you’ll be a one-man band playing out-of tune to an empty room.

Read to be engaged and engage others!

Read Daily With These Tips

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” – Stephen King

Reading is absolutely essential for Expert Authors. Think of it like this: You can’t (or shouldn’t in most cases) be a lawyer without studying and understanding the law. You can’t be a scientist without absorbing and learning the science. You can’t be a postmodern artist without understanding the works of leading postmodern artists. And so on. Reading is an incredible tool for Expert Authors – make time to use it!

“Read! When your baby is finally down for the night, pick up a juicy book like Eat, Pray, Love or Pride and Prejudice or my personal favorite, Understanding Sleep Disorders: Narcolepsy and Apnea; A Clinical Study. Taking some time to read each night really taught me how to feign narcolepsy when my husband asked me what my ‘plan’ was for taking down the Christmas tree.” – Tina Fey

Read for discovery. Reading is not so you can say this at cocktail parties: “Yes, I read War and Peace cover-to-cover” (with the underlying subtext “be impressed by my reading prowess and canonical-guided magnificence”). Good readers don’t read to reach the ending. They read to connect with and understand new ideas and old traditions. If someone asked them what they thought about War and Peace, connected readers (and authors) would likely focus on the how the pieces of the work fit together and the emotion, not just the play-by-play plot.

“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” – Sherman Alexie

Read for growth. Avoid limiting yourself to one particular genre and soak up a variety of subjects, style, language, ideas, and inspiration by reading a wide-breadth of content.

“The most successful people I know don’t just read-they inhale information.” – Brett Nelson

If you haven’t already, make time for reading every day. Not only will you increase your knowledge and vocabulary, reading can be entertaining, provide mental stimulation to keep your brain active, improve your memory, and overall boost focus.

How you can make reading a habit? Try Dr. BJ Fogg’s “Tiny Habits” formula, which we recently covered in another post:

  • Set a specific goal (in this case, reading every day).
  • Start with an easy target (such as reading for 15 minutes, 1,000 words, or perhaps 5 pages).
  • Create a cue so reading becomes an automatic response (such as when you get home from work, wake up, finish dinner, etc. then you’ll read).

You will eventually notice your reading target increasing and may begin craving to read!

15 Questions to Reflect on Your Reading

Get more engaged with your reading! Don’t worry about asking yourself all of these questions – some pieces warrant more (or less) thought than others. Simply think of this list as a walk-through guide to consider what you’re reading:

  • What’s the credibility of the author and/or the publisher?
  • Who is the audience the author is writing for?
  • What is the author stating?
  • Is the author making any assumptions?
  • What was the context of the author’s position?
  • Did the author imply anything?
  • What’s the author’s purpose or motive in writing this piece?
  • What tone or attitude does the author adopt?
  • Does the author use formal or informal language?
  • Is the author writing objectively or emotionally?
  • What conclusions did the author reach?
  • Were those conclusions justified?
  • How does the author’s position compare to others in their niche?
  • Did the author say anything new?
  • What part of the article pulled you in?

Note your reflections in a reading journal or simply give yourself a few moments to ponder. Either way, you can use these questions to give your reading a contemplative punch as well as inspiration for your own articles!

“When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus

What are your thoughts? Are you passionate about reading? What are you reading to expand your expertise? What are you reading for pleasure? How often do you read and how long are your reading sessions? Do you have any great reading recommendations for fellow Expert Authors? Do you think Stephen King’s view on authors who don’t read is too harsh?

Let us know! Share your comments or questions below – we’d love to hear from you.

19 Comments »


1
jenny j robert writes:

I agree with Stephan King. Books are good silent friends and now a days most books are available for free, others cost few bucks but they provide useful insights and valuable information.

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 9:45 AM

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2

I agree with you, I love to read but I don’t sustain it for long time and it takes me longer time to finish a book, I read to improve myself, get inpiration, knowledge and exposure. I love to write too, though not very perfect at it, and I want to really improve on ready and writing skill. Thanks to EzineArticles, anytime they start publishing my article then I will know I have really improved.

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 11:34 AM

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3
Anselm Anyoha writes:

Do audio books count?

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

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David Croucher writes:

Yes! But, unless you can’t see to read, not alone. An audio book is affected by the speaker as much as by the author, and good and bad diction, intonation and the sheer power (or lack of it) put into the reading by the speaker can lift or kill a poor book and enhance or depress a good one. It’s harder with an audio book to answer the 15 questions above. I have a blind West Indian friend in her 80s who waxes strong about the relative merits of the speaker, rather then the book. And that’s why you should read books for yourself, if possible, rather than have someone read them to you.

Put another way, when you’ve read a book and seen the movie, is it the power of the author’s vision that attracts you – or the power of a favourite actor’s interpretation? And when the movie came first, how often is the ‘book of the movie’ a good one rather than something rather flat? Not very often, I think!

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No. This post emphasise the habit of reading and not listening.

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4
Kay Franklin writes:

Absolutely agree and yes audio books do count as far as I am concerned. Be a sponge but wring out often!

There is no point just absorbing what you read, you need to pass it on, put your own spin on it and add you own experiences.

Once you really start reading you’ll rediscover your ‘new ideas’ gene and you won”t be the same again!

I love your 15 reflection questions too!

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM

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5
Akinniyi osho writes:

Thank you for this beautiful article. I agree that in order to be an expert author you must love to read
I am a voracious reader. My useful tip on reading to write is this
Set aside at least 30 minutes daily to read about your niche topic
Read broadly related topics
When you read try to look for the main idea in the book
Then ask yourself this question ” how can I relate this idea to my audience”
Keep reading daily and then write every day

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

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6
jenny j robert writes:

Audio books should be counted because they share the same information but reading has its own enjoyment.

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

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David Croucher writes:

I can’t help reading, and reading, and reading – both in general and on topic for my own niches. I generally have a dozen books ‘on the go’ all the time, including a biography, something about psychology or physiology (gene development at the moment), the bible, several concurrent works of fiction and some kind of hobby study. As my niches run around bodily health and wellbeing, I buy books in the field, study them and analyze them – then try to beat them. The 15 questions above are pretty-well what I do, and I aim to write in better English than my rivals (but usually idiomatic rather than technical) and have a more helpful organization and encouragement (trying to get people to control their food greed is a big problem – they’re always seeing and listening to advertising telling them, subtly, to pig out!)

It’s important to read a lot of short articles, too, on anything that calls to me, but especially my specialities. Many of these are in blogs and newspapers (the BBC News online has great short summaries of hot stories – and links for followup), though I’ve dropped news feeds because they tend to be overwhelming and can quickly go off topic. I can then learn the good and bad of article writing, as well as using this site.

The last point is that discipline is required. I personally need to watch: spending too long on fiction, especially if it grabs me; following a good topic too far – ie, beyond what I need for my own writing; and spending too long developing an article: if it gets long, I’ll split it and concentrate on one first. I remember a few years ago finding an old Readers’ Digest article in one of my niches and trying to update and correct its points. I had to take myself in hand when I hit 2000 words! In the end, I got 7 great articles based on the one 6-page digest!

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7
Matthew Morris writes:

This article focuses on books as the target for reading, but that’s not the whole story. My niche is very technical and I spend a great deal of time reading open forums dedicated to it. I get a number of my article concepts from this practice.

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 9:32 PM

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8

Reading any book or newspaper, electronic or paper form, irrespective of language, author and time will definitely impact our thoughts and actions. Reading newspaper in the morning helps us to update our knowledge on the latest happenings in the world. I prefer reading eBooks while travel .

Comment provided April 29, 2014 at 9:47 PM

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9
Jones writes:

Great contents. I love to read. I personally believe reading is the best form of human activity that I have discovered.

Comment provided April 30, 2014 at 8:43 AM

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10
Alan Toner writes:

I thoroughly enjoyed this article on reading more, and I totally agree with all the points made. I have been an avid reader myself right from childhood, and I think there is no greater pleasure in life than curling up on the sofa with a real good book.

In my childhood, the authors who gave me most pleasure were people like Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis and P.L. Travers (who wrote the Mary Poppins books). As I got older, I started to read the Jennings books by Anthony Buckeridge, along with the Just Williams series and the Willard Price adventure novels. Now, in my adult years, I love reading James Herbert, Stephen King (whose views on the importance of reading, by the way, I wholeheartedly endorse) and Graham Masteron. I also enjoy reading autobiographies.

I think it is very sad, though, that a lot of young people are leaving school now illiterate. If only more of them would take more interest in reading. I don’t know how anybody can say that they are “not interested in reading books”, as they just don’t seem to appreciate the great value and pleasure one can derive from the written word.

Now that I have become a published writer myself, I am pleased to say that I owe much thanks to my voracious reading habits, and assimilating everything I possibly can from different authors. Reading everything you possibly can not only strengthens your own writing capabilities, but it also educates you on different things, giving you a broad view of the world. Learning different genres is just endlessly fascinating. And the more you read and absorb, the more knowledgeable you become. So, yes, read, read, and read again. Certainly the best advise anybody could give to a writer.

Comment provided April 30, 2014 at 1:02 PM

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11
Brandyn Burgett writes:

Stephen King does make a valid point. Writing is a type of art. Artist’s are constantly looking at other peoples art, and analyzing different techniques to achieve different effects. As an author, it’s up to you to analyze different techniques others are using to relay their message. By analyzing and noticing what’s effective, you will greatly improve your own writing.

(To answer the inital question – What Are You Reading?)
I’m currently reading The Hunger Games for fiction, Adsense Secrets 5 for work, Convict Conditioning for health, and How to Write a Killer Thriller to further my writing.

Comment provided April 30, 2014 at 7:07 PM

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12
Vijay Khosla writes:

“Don’t just read it…Inhale the information”!
Loved reading the Caption…
Thanks.

Comment provided May 1, 2014 at 2:10 AM

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13
Jayesh Pau writes:

Great Post, Reading can increase your confidence, you are providing best content to analyze, research and ideas for the content marketing. i love to read technology blogs and I’m currently reading “Who will cry when you Die” by Robin Sharma, Great book with Awesome Thoughts.

Comment provided May 2, 2014 at 6:50 AM

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14
David Croucher writes:

As a retired secondary school teacher, I have memories of youth reading habits going back well over half a century. I can assure you, Alan, that kids haven’t changed at all in that time!

Reading is the most advanced mental skill that people generally use today. (People can avoid complex maths and mental arithmetic easily and are usually happy to write at a lower level of complexity of thought and grammar than they are required to read.) Because of that, at least half of all readers have always been uncomfortable with extended reading unless they have a serious motivation. Newspapers recognize this: the reading age of all but the most erudite papers is restricted to first school level, plus specialist vocabulary (such as football or popular medical terminology).

So you need to be careful in allocating the term ‘illiterate’ to the majority of people in parts of the world where all but a few percent of the population can pick up a newspaper and work out what any article says. For most of the world’s population, that’s impossible! All that you say in your last paragraph is absolutely true, but do remember that to most readers, reading for information is hard work; you and I, though, can read almost anything in our native language and comprehend with ease.

That’s why we are advised to pitch our articles to our target readership and to keep thing short, snappy and interesting if we want them to get beyond the first paragraph before clicking away!

Comment provided May 2, 2014 at 10:22 AM

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15
Gracious Store writes:

Reading is the only way you can broaden your mind and find new ideas for your writings. The problem is that sometimes I can get to busy that I don’t have enough time to read expect to skim through the writings

Comment provided May 4, 2014 at 7:29 PM

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16
Salihu S Dikko writes:

Reading other Authors works or articles, will not only keep one busy, but will infuse in the reader some useful ideas. And again, it injects in the reader the zeal to be committed and put more efforts in order to come up with or her own articles as well. This is why it is always good for one to have with him a readable articles of interest to keep him busy, which is better than to let the time pass off without nothing being gained during the
day.

Comment provided July 17, 2014 at 8:57 AM

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