If you want to excel at writing, the consensus is that it’s crucial to read a lot. Over my lifetime, I haven’t read as much literature as I would have liked. This is mainly because I worked in various research jobs at the beginning of my career. By the time evening came, I felt saturated and had neither the appetite nor the stamina to read another word.
A couple of years ago I made up my mind to catch up with my reading. But rather than enrolling in a course in literature, I decided to be my own university. I just started reading books that had escaped my younger self – by Dostoevsky, Kafka, Camus, Wharton, Goethe, Gaskell, and plenty of contemporary authors too.
Not only has this tardy spurt of reading given me a sense of the wonderful variety of narrative forms; it has also heightened my feeling for the beauty and wisdom in the words of great writers. I hope that some of these qualities will rub off on me. Meanwhile, the reading is certainly deepening my understanding of human relationships.