If you’re a writer, you have to work on your craft. You have to learn the mechanics. You have to study language and dialogue. You have to read other people’s work – both the classics and the contemporaries. You have to develop what Dean Young calls a “critical sensibility” that guides how you read and write.
Reading has always played a large role in my life, but the first book I recall infiltrating daily life was Where the Red Fern Grows. My mom spent a summer reading the book to my brothers and me. We wept when we learned the fate of Big Dan and Little Anne.