When I grow up I want to be as well read (by those who buy books) as author John le Carré. Popular writer John Grisham is an avid fan. . .of le Carré's. He's been quoted as saying; The Little Drummer Girl is one of his favorite novels, and John le Carré his favorite writer. Grisham says he reads The Little Drummer Girl every four or five years—inspired to emulate le Carré plots, descriptions of people, and dialogue. High praise from one of America's masters of the best seller lists. Even if the books you're fond of are not classics of literature but rather, ones that inspired you to write, keep them close by. It's always wise to give them a second, third, or fourth reading to see if they still captivate you with plotting, dialog, characters, and descriptions. If you belong to a book club, as I do, you'll be introduced to books normally outside of your reading tastes. You'll be challenged by your fellow members to stretch yourself. You might read stories by authors you have never heard of, and in doing so, possibly discover a gem. The bonus for authors who attend book clubs or participate in writing groups is the exposure to other writers' styles. It will rub off eventually, making one a better writer. I'm not talking about the dark side—plagiarism—I'm referring to the appreciation one develops for the intricacies of a plot, unique descriptions, and memorable exchanges of dialog. I'm fond of Mark Twain's oft-quoted rule about “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” A good author appreciates Twain's words. And it might be worth one's time to check out John le Carré's writing—it comes highly recommended.