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A day without reading is an untenable prospect to me, worse by far than a day without food or sleep. I don't know at what point reading tipped from a way to pass time and spilled into an obsession, but by high school I was clearly beyond help. I knew something was awry when it became clear that I was the only one in class who not only didn't hate The Scarlet Letter, but found it riveting, even rather miraculous. As much as I loved Jane Eyre and The Old Man and the Sea, Eliot and Shelley, English class was not going to supply what I increasingly needed. On my own I discovered Turgenev, Defoe, Kafka, and Wilde. I credit these authors and their books, together with classical music, with completing the job my parents started of raising me. My parents were both musicians; it seemed inevitable I would follow that path as well. Today I am a pianist, teacher, and composer. I am also a psychologist. For many years I held a private practice. But whatever else I've been up to, I've been reading. Right now, the stack by my bed includes Saul Bellow, Wallace Stevens, John Cowper Powys, James Wood, and Milan Kundera. I'd put them back on the shelf, but there's no room.

2011-02-21 02:28:19

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