I love reading. And I’ve been doing it since I could, well, read. Which I started doing when I was about three. The Little Red Caboose was the first book I learned to read, and after that, there was no stopping me.
I’ve read hundreds, thousands, of books. And as such, I’ve gotten quite fast at doing so.
Yesterday, I read All Bets Are Off by former AFL footballer David Schwarz.
On Monday, I read I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron.
And on Sunday, I read How To Be Married by Polly Williams.
Each book was entirely different, based on very different subject matter and written in very different styles.
Some people read books because doing so makes them feel smarter. I read books because I know doing so does. As a writer, reading is about as important as having a laptop under your fingertips for half of the day, and a pen in your hand for the rest of it.
If you want to write well, you’ve got to read well.
And reading well doesn’t mean only reading off the Booker Prize list, great as it is, it means reading things that are going to help you learn. Things that you’re interested in. And things you know absolutely nothing about.
Beyond transporting me, beyond teaching me, books change me.
Every time I read one, I learn something new. I appreciate something different. I laugh about something I didn’t know the meaning of. Every book I’ve read has given me something; hundreds, thousands of little tiny pieces that are a part of me.
In I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron writes, “There’s something called the rapture of the deep, and it refers to what happens when a deep-sea diver spends too much time at the bottom of the ocean and can’t tell which way is up. When he surfaces, he’s liable to have a condition called the bends, where the body can’t adapt to the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. All this happens to me when I surface from a great book.”
Me too, Nora, me too.