3 Reasons NOT to Feel Guilty for Reading... (with book recommendations)

By Justine Perry (@justine_perry)

Nothing brings me more joy than a good book. I love escaping into the world of the characters, and asking myself what I would do in their position.


I know many songwriters who love books but feel guilty reading. They worry they’re neglecting important tasks and passions. Four years ago, I used to read for 5-7 hours every day. I cut down when I became serious about building my business. However, I still make time for books because I believe reading is essential. 


Here are 3 reasons reading IS productive:


  • Reading improves writing

Reading betters your spelling, grammar and creative writing. This can work on a conscious or subconscious level. As a lyricist, the lyrics I license to songwriters and producers look more professional without bad spelling.


If you write full songs, your writing is heard (not read), plus incorrect grammar is often used on creative license. However, you still need to write. You type emails, text for your website, and countless social media posts. Maybe you have a blog, or make posters and promotional leaflets. If these are well written, you look professional.


“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

~ Stephen King

  • Write about new experiences

It can be difficult to write about situations you haven’t experienced yourself. But sticking to your own experiences can be restrictive. When reading a great novel, you know every thought the character thinks. You understand how what they’re going through makes them feel. This means one thing.


You can write from their perspective! Try this. If you do, please send me your song or lyric, and let me know which book it was inspired by.


  • Reading can help you sleep

Looking at a screen before bed doesn’t aid sleep. You can try every “night mode” your phone or computer has to offer, but nothing beats turning off your devices and relaxing.


If you want to be productive, sleep isn’t optional. For me, using my phone before bed is bad. Duolingo says the best time to learn a new language is before bed. The problem is that Duolingo is an app. I’ve used it right before bed, and then been unable to sleep for hours.


Reading is a great way to wind down (unless you can’t put the book down so stay up till 5am. I’ve been there.)


Onto my book recommendations… 

  • The Woods Are Dark - Richard Laymon

If you love horror films like Wrong Turn, Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this book is for you. Richard Laymon is a renowned horror writer. His books resemble slasher movies but have more depth.


His novels aren’t for the faint hearted. Many contain graphic deaths and misogynistic characters. The latter can be uncomfortable to read as a woman. The Woods Are Dark would be a good place to start with this author because it’s mild compared to the others I’ve read. (Some of the others will be in my Halloween recommendations in October.)


You can’t get some of Richard Laymon’s books in the UK without difficulty; many online stores that claim to stock them are untrustworthy. Luckily, I got mine from the US without issue or much/any extra expense.


Order yours here: *amzn.to/2UsFkCo


  • Behind Her Eyes - Sarah Pinborough

This is a thriller. If you don’t like horror, this might be up your street. The ending completely blew me away. When you’ve read as many thrillers as I have, they can blend into one. Behind Her Eyes stands out and injects something new into the genre. 

The plot:

I don’t know how to describe this book without spoiling the plot. It starts when Louise has an affair with her boss, and inadvertently befriends his wife. The world of this couple is more than Louise (or we) could have anticipated.

Order this book here:

US: *amzn.to/2Us6Uj5

UK: *amzn.to/2vhi4w0

  • Local Girl Missing - Claire Douglas

Claire Douglas is a thriller writer, and one of my favourites. I’ve loved all her books. As with Behind Her Eyes, I will always remember Local Girl Missing. I was addicted from start to finish, and the ending is brilliant. 


The plot:

Francesca returns to the childhood town she left behind. She left after her high school best friend disappeared, but now a body has been found. It’s already an uncomfortable situation for her, returning to the places and people she thought she’d never see again. Then strange things start happening…


Get this book:

US: *amzn.to/2ru8fIE

UK: *amzn.to/2nbpFb3


What are your favourite books? Let me know! If you’re a fellow bookworm, please subscribe to this blog. I’m planning lots more book-related content! 


*Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the link(s). I only recommend products that I believe to be helpful and useful. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. 


How to Write Memorable Songs... Even if You Struggle with Lyric Writing​


If you want to improve your lyrics, hone your editing skills, or find reliable co-writers, this quiz is for you. Answer 4 questions about your writing process, and I send you feedback based on your answers.

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