Sunday 26 May 2024

How Should You Read?

Lydia Davis, Essays One (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), p. 178:

How should you read? What should the diet of your reading be? Read the best writers from all different periods; keep your reading of contemporaries in proportion—you do not want a steady diet of contemporary literature. You already belong to your time. You should be reading a lot—reading different kinds of books but also reading in different ways: sometimes fast, and sometimes slowly. Sometimes just absorbing what you are reading, losing yourself; at other times analyzing as you read, developing your awareness of how a writer achieves an effect; sometimes stopping to analyze closely just one sentence or one paragraph.