Most writers are also voracious readers. We love the written word and not only when we're the one penning, I mean typing, it. Visit your favorite author's blog regularly and sooner or later you're going to read about her TBR pile. That means To Be Read for you lucky folks who read every book as soon as you get it. I have a small stack compared to some people I know. I glanced at it before starting this post, thinking about which book I might start next. Not that I'm ready to start another one.
Currently I have two different fantasy novels started. The Wells of Ascension is the second book in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. He's a must read writer if you love fantasy. The other fantasy novel is the fourth and final book in a series by Greg Keyes. The Born Queen is wrapping up his series, The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone. I usually don't read two of the same genre at the same time. More likely if I'm reading two books one is a fantasy, my favorite, and the other is either a romance or a suspense novel. I even through an occasional horror or even a western in there as well as a literary offering. I have some favorite authors in all those genres but am open to trying new ones. My daughter even talks me into sampling her young adult books.
I believe it's important for an author to venture outside their chosen genre in her reading. Reading suspense has taught me to make my own story telling more edgy. Reading romance helps me keep my dialogue interesting and realistic. The few literary titles I select remind me how school reading requirements need revamped but also often introduce me to dark insights into human nature I can incorporate into my characters. The young adult books remind me how each chapter must move the story forward or you'll lose your audience quicker than your teen can text message 'r u maken food 4 nune?'
So what do you think? Is it important for an author to read across the spectrum or does it make a better romance writer to read only romance? Should a fantasy author stick with their own area? There are hundreds of books I would read if I had time. Do you as an author read what you don't write/