You’ve probably heard the old adage that the best writers are the best readers, but what should you actually be reading in order to improve your writing craft? Books published within the genre you’re writing will help you see the tone and style your future readers are accustomed to.

Reading other books in your genre isn’t about mimicking or copying, instead it provides insight into your book’s market. So, if you’re writing YA fiction, be sure to read up on popular novels in that genre. If you’re writing a self-help book geared toward couples who want to improve their relationships, scour the bookstore for other books on the same topic.

When it comes to honing your craft, however, there are five books I will always recommend to every writer—no matter their current skill level.

  1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamont
  3. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need by Jessica Brody
  4. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer
  5. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White

What is your favorite book on writing? Leave a comment below and tell us how that book has helped improve your writing.