I’ve been trying to read more lately, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I savor the experience of immersing myself in a good, well-written story. As a writer, too, it’s as much like exercising as writing in my journal, or blogging. You cannot be a writer without being a reader. I’ve known that for some time now. Finally, and perhaps most powerfully, it occurs to me that my parents were both readers. My mother was partial to literature – writers like Cheever, Updike and her favorite, John Gardner. She consumed biographies and autobiographies voraciously, and I remember how proud I was to have recommended Toby Wolff’s memoir, This Boy’s Life, which she enjoyed and praised. Her magazine of choice was The New Yorker, known for the high quality of its articles, poems and short fiction. (Not to mention the cartoons, which I grew up reading and doing my best to understand. I think this may have helped the development of an early sense of subtle irony in me.)
My father preferred the spy novel genre. He often read Robert Ludlum and John le Carré, among others. Funny, as I write this it occurs to me that I inherited my mother’s taste in books, and my brother Mike got my father’s. That’s interesting.
At any rate, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I’m more a TV viewer than I am a reader. What I plan to do is start turning off the tube and opening up the Kindle. It will improve my life; I’m absolutely sure of it.