Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dylan Landis, On Reading

"We always told our son: if it's printed matter and you want it, we'll buy it. Everything else had limits. But if it could be read under the covers with a flashlight and he wanted it, we bought it, no questions asked. The flashlight, too.

I read to be someone else for a while. I read to commit crimes, get into fights, fall in love, experience grace, survive shame, take insane risks and overcome troubles. I read to die and come back. Always, I read to be a better writer. I read because Song of Solomon is the only way to spend time with Pilate Dead; I've visited her twelve times.

For a long time my son read to learn how race car engines worked. Every night in eighth grade he went to bed with a college auto-shop textbook and a pad of Post-its. He reads, I think, to gain mastery, which I really admire. I read for transformation."

{Dylan Landis is the author of Normal People Don't Live Like This (Persea Books), a novel-in-stories. She has published fiction in Bomb, Tin House, Best American Nonrequired Reading and elsewhere, and has won a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and other awards. For more information, visit her website here.}


  1. Beautifully written and articulated. A clarion call to reading. Thank you!

  2. Fabulous book. Creative and original. Sentences vibrate with originality.