I am always very much behind the beat when it comes to reading. I borrow books from the library. I get on long waiting lists. It doesn’t matter to me if I’ve read the latest sensation. I get to it in time if I think reading it will help me with my own writing in some way, either in terms of subject or style.
There are certain writers who help me write. This is very personal – why we respond to one writer more than another, to one place more than another. It’s a physical response to the tone of the book. There are books that for bossy, show-offy reasons make me feel smaller and less alive. And other books that put me in touch with myself as part of a large, fascinating, interconnected world. I feel more alive because the world is more alive, thanks to what I’m reading. A recent example is A Village Life by the American poet Louise Glück.