I don’t think any writer of any worth can do good work without reading. Books give us inspiration. More than that, they give us language, and at the heart of writing is the play of language, the joy of language, and of the language of stories.
Carefully choosing whom to read for content, style, or for effect is important. For instance, I enjoy reading adventure stories with mysteries in them, especially when I’m working on writing fiction. But I try to find tales that go beyond simple pot boilers or who done its. I read such well known authors as Jacquelyn Carey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Alan Furst, Jim Butcher, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Alan Furst, Guy Gavriel Kay Oliver Pötzsch, Jack McDevitt, Alastair Reynolds, James S. A. Corey.
I read those authors because they give more than just a potboiler of a story. Their characters live with me long after I’ve read the book. They make me think.
Recently I read a lovely book by A. M. Rycroft, The Joy Thief. I’ll confess that I’m one of this author’s beta readers, contributing bits of critique, suggesting ways to strengthen a bit of narrative here and there before the book is published. It’s a volunteer thing I do for a few writers. I don’t have time to beta read for just anyone, but I’m glad to do so for Rycroft. She’s a writer with a future. Her stories not only entertain me, but bring me into the minds of her characters. She also uses folk tales within her writing, especially in The Joy Thief in a way that makes me think she is inventing new folk tales.
If you enjoy sword and sorcery, fantasy with heroes of both gender, without a lot of sex, or four letter words, I highly recommend her work. Mycroft’s characters make you want to care about them, especially Aeryn and Theo in Into the Darkness, and in The Joy Thief .