Earlier this month, one of my stories, ‘Life Spring‘, and an essay, ‘On Domestic Abuse and Saving Our Men‘, were both published by Hofstra University’s Windmill magazine, for which I am very grateful.
Here’s an interview they also published, which focuses on what I read, why I read, what I recommend to others, and so on.
Q: Do you have a favorite book? What do you say to convince people to read it?
A: There isn’t a single favorite book and I find there is nothing I can say in general terms about any particular book to convince others to read it. Our reading preferences are so personal and dependent on our individual outlooks and/or present preferences.
If I might, instead, talk about reading in general because, these days, I’m hearing more people say: “I don’t have time to read” or “I can’t read serious fiction because I’m too worried about what’s going on in the world today.” This is what I would say to convince them to read:
First, a good book — fiction or nonfiction — is the concentrated vision of a single writer, who has invested a lot of time and effort in presenting something they consider important for the world to know. And how can we understand our own world/lives, unless we also take the time to understand some of the best things that have been thought and written about it?
Second, fiction is a writer’s way of saying truths that cannot be said otherwise; it is a representation of a way of being in the world that cannot be expressed otherwise.
Third, good fiction takes us out of ourselves, places us in unfamiliar, ambiguous worlds, and shows us aspects of those worlds we would not have known otherwise. So that, when we return to our own world, we see and understand it differently. Our frames, our contexts, our very approaches to seeing and thinking change.
So, reading and writing are life-altering because no other activity can enable us to make such deep, thorough, specific observations of our world, while also neatly pushing our cognitively-lazy and biased judging self onto the backseat. Please find the time to read good, well-written books — they are essential food for your soul. And, if inspired enough, find the time to write too — it will clarify your own thinking.