To improve your writing, try ‘close reading’

Scrutinizing others’ words and phrases for their literary power can help invigorate your own prose.

I typically read a book a week; time permitting, I’ll read even more.

My tastes are catholic, with the exception of murder mysteries, which bore me. (Don’t email me suggestions; it’s a character flaw, I know.) I even post the lists of books I read each year on my blog. You can see 2015 part 1, here.

The only time I enjoyed the mystery genre was when I was pregnant. Hospitalized a month before delivery because I was expecting triplets, I plowed through every book written by mystery meisters Jonathan and Faye Kellerman. The resident who visited me each morning would check my current book and, around day seven, remarked, “This hospital allows you to read the work of other authors, you know.”

Once I was finally able to start reading again (about three years later, when the kids were finally out of diapers) I raced through novels—literary and non—as well as biographies, current affairs tomes and marketing books with an intensity that might look suspiciously like a mental illness.

Today, I’m going to recommend to you a book that I haven’t yet finished, but that based on the first three chapters I can highly recommend.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.