Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ben Greenman, On Reading

"I can't quite survive without writing, and reading is, to me, part of writing. They are two ends of the same process, as intertwined as eating and shi...well, there you go -- thirty words in and I've already run up against a vulgarity. Let's change that and say that reading is the inbreath and writing is the outbreath. I have gone moderate stretches without reading, mostly because I was younger, and, being younger, believed a professor who told me, quite authoritatively, that a real writer did not read other people's books while he was working on his own. That guy was wrong. I depend upon reading as I depend upon music, or conversation, or looking at the world: it provides me with ideas, perspectives, company, competition, light, loss, and love. It provides everything. Books are magical things, entire worlds contained in objects the size of a dinner plate."

Ben Greenman is an editor at the New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including Superbad, Please Step Back, and the forthcoming What He's Poised To Do. He lives in Brooklyn and maintains a website here.}

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