If you pay a child a dollar to read a book, as some schools have tried, you not only create an expectation that reading makes you money, you also run the risk of depriving the child for ever of the value of it. Markets are not innocent.
There is hardly a pioneer’s hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.
On a very personal level, I have fond memories of spending a lot of time in the Library of Congress working on my collection of poems ‘Native Guard.’ I was there over a summer doing research in the archives and then writing in the reading room at the Jefferson building.
I’m good at reading people.
I met Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley on the same day in 1968. I was sixteen at the time. Very exciting. They were reading at Armagh. One of my teachers brought me to meet them, introduced me, and I became friends with them.
I’m not sure that the benefit – as a writer and as a citizen – that I would get from reading at least the front page of the Times every day or every other day would outweigh the depression.
I grew up reading 19th-century novels and late Victorian children’s books, so I try for a good story full of coincidence and error, landscape and weather. However, the world was radically changed during my lifetime, and I tell of that battering as best I can.
Don’t ask who’s influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he’s digested, and I’ve been reading all my life.
My early and invincible love of reading I would not exchange for all the riches of India.
My father was a great sympathizer of Ahad Ha’am. Every Friday night we would read Hebrew together, and often the reading was Ahad Ha’am’s essays.