Reading Critically: Real-World Writers
The first time that I read a contract, I was frightened because my father, who was a farmer, was really a business man, he was a business man who ran a farm, is what he was, and he instilled in me some very, I think, common business practice and ethics. And one of the things he always used to tell me when I was a teenager was, 'don't ever sign a contract without having read it first.' So I'd get these contracts, I couldn't understand them, and I'm like, well I read it, does that qualify? I don't know what the hell it means you know, but does it qualify that I read it?' And I read through a music publishing contract recently that I understood a lot better because I wrote the book. Because in writing the book, I myself had to do a lot of research because I found out how naive I was about music publishing.
So there's an immense amount of reading from that standpoint, for any player on the team to know his opponent the following week, and really feel as though you've done your homework. And when game time comes, you can anticipate a little more the kinds of things that are going to happen because you've read about them and watched them on tape and practiced against them during the week.
Any scientist needs to do a lot of reading before he even does a project. And even as he's doing a project he needs to continue to read because there are so many other people doing different kinds of work, doing really good work and they publish the work and so you have to read to keep abreast of what's happening in your field. Reading scientific articles is hard work. Because you have to concentrate. You have to try to get the nuances of what the author's trying to convey.
I spend a lot of time reading things of all sorts. And I don't distinguish between—I never read merely for pleasure. That is I don't say to myself, 'I think I want to be entertained, I'll find a book to read.' A book to me is more than that, there's always more going on than merely taking pleasure from it. I'm always learning something.
Kim Stanley Robinson
I found that when I was teaching writing that you can just ask students this question: do you read for fun? And shockingly, you'll find a lot of college students that don't read for fun and really have rarely read anything except what they were forced to in schools. Those people are in big trouble, because writing is a process of doing things on the page with sentences as opposed to just talking. Whatever students read is their own business and is good for their writing. I mean anything. Cereal boxes and comic books. I don't, as a science fiction writer, I would not agree with any kind of hierarchical ranking of any fiction. If you're reading for fun then you're learning things about the world.