Reading fiction makes for better writers: What’s on our bookshelves

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Bestselling author J.K. Rowling was once quoted saying “I do believe something magical happens every time you read a book.” Most readers can’t argue her sentiment; the art of good […]

Bestselling author J.K. Rowling was once quoted saying “I do believe something magical happens every time you read a book.”

Most readers can’t argue her sentiment; the art of good storytelling has helped shape societies since the beginning of time. Storytelling certainly isn’t limited to books, and from a marketing perspective, it  has a more prominent place than ever before.Engaging content is critical for web success, and those of us who tell stories (in any format) often hope to create in our audiences the emotional response we feel while a reading good book. But how?

Studies suggest that reading literary fiction improves writing and storytelling skills.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that many of Brafton’s editorial teammates are avid readers who find inspiration from favorite stories when crafting their own. We asked around the editorial floor to find out what our editors and writers have been reading recently.

Here’s a peek at their bookshelves:

book 1

 “I recently finished “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton. I LOVED it. It was a bit slow to start off, but eventually, it sucked me in. Also, it’s super long (more than 800 pages), so there’s a ton of time to get attached to the characters. I really appreciate a book that does that. I always know it was a good book if I miss the characters once I’m done reading it – that definitely happened with this one!” Lauren Hutchinson, Boston Editor

 

book3“I love to read, and I love book clubs because I read things I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen. Even if I don’t like a lot of the books my fellow book-clubbers choose – we read “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L James one month, immediately followed by an 800-page historical fiction monstrosity the next – the act of reading itself has been so important in my development as a writer and editor. Also, can I give a shoutout to my Kindle app? Right now I’m making my way through the “Song of Ice and Fire” (Game of Thrones) series by George R.R. Martin (NO SPOILERS) and it’s so convenient to highlight sections, get word definitions and sort through the entire billion-character rundown in the span of two seconds. It’s made me a much more efficient reader.” Hollie Heath, Chicago Researcher

book 2

 “I’m currently reading “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera. It’s definitely interesting. Aside from a good story, I like a book that makes me stop and ask questions. In the case of this novel, is it better to be a light or heavy person (in terms of personal philosophy and approach to life, not weight)? What’s great is I can bring this question and others raised by Kundera to friends who haven’t even read the book.” Chris Hassan, Boston Editor

 

book4

 “I’m currently reading the “Song of Ice and Fire” (Game of Thrones) series by George R.R. Martin. While the intertwining storylines and narrative are thrilling, I think the strong character development is what’s keeping me hooked. Martin takes us inside the minds of women, children, cripples – people who traditionally aren’t main characters in fantasy novels – and paints incredible pictures of these peoples’ experiences, fears and motivations.” Ashley Greene, Chicago Editor

 

book5

 “I recently finished Lorrie Moore’s new short story collection, “Bark.” Short stories often leave me unsatisfied, even in collections (which probably explains my indifference to tapas restaurants, actually). I’m more of a novel person. But there are always exceptions to the rule, and Lorrie Moore is such an exceptional exception that I even picked up “Bark” in hardcover. We tend to seek out two things in our friends: pathos and humor, both of which Moore is famous for. But Lorrie Moore’s prose doesn’t just make her feel like your friend, she’s more like a spirit animal. Reading one of her books lodges her voice in your unconscious – and maybe your conscience – there to offer meaningful, heartfelt advice. Usually in the form of a pun.” Matthew Rickart, Boston Editor

book6

 “I just finished reading Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” which she refers to as a novel, even though it {a novel that} reads more like a collection of interconnected short stories. The book centers on two employees at a record label, and a handful of the people they’ve known throughout different periods in their lives. The setup and perspective of each vignette is unique – one takes the form of a celebrity profile and another is even told through PowerPoint presentation. While the approach itself is pretty interesting, the characters are the most compelling part of the book, because you get to witness them at different points in their lives and see how their experiences have changed them.” Kate Blair, Chicago Writer

book7 “I recently read “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, which is one of the most captivating novels I’ve read in a while. (Warning: Spoilers ahead!) It’s the story of a mother writing letters to her estranged husband after their son commits a massacre at his high school. Despite the pretty grim premise, I could not put this book down. It’s an in-depth, vivid look at love, loss, motherhood and how parenthood can completely change a marriage. It’s a pretty character-driven book and deals with a lot of really deep emotions. I feel like it’s hard to execute that kind of novel well, so as a writer I have a ton of admiration for this book – even if it did really scare me!” Tracey Zielezinski, Chicago Editor

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Molly BucciniMolly Buccini is Brafton's marketing communications coordinator. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and community engagement. Likes: All things Boston, beaches and black labradors (especially her own).
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  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Molly,

    I finished a James Patterson book yesterday. Brilliant! We learn and grow by expanding our imagination through reading, so keep on churning through books to grow your imagination and become a better writer.

    Thanks for the good shares!

    • molly buccini

      Glad you enjoyed, Ryan! Couldn’t agree more – as a kid I was constantly reading and my love for nonfiction storytelling had a huge effect on my decision to study journalism.