Reading is essential to writing, many writers believe. Many grew up with b0oks. My parents took me to the library and they had copies of Shakespeare and other classics although I doubt they ever read them.
My mother read mysteries and later in life, biographies of writers which she hid in closets. I think she was afraid that my father would believe she was intelligent and she pretended she couldn’t think straight. She relied on her looks and had 1940’s attitudes towards genders.
My older brother read mysteries and Second World War novels, too. My father and younger brother prided themselves on never reading a single book in their lifetime. Very impressive, they thought.
I read voluminously then and now. I find no greater pleasure that buying a new book and reading it. I also use the library. But I have too many books but I am well-read. And I want to write novels that haven’t been written that I want to read.
Most writers read a lot although not when they are writing novels.
My favorite book is The Brothers Karamazov. I was talking with a friend who said he found the book manipulative. He didn’t think families could act that way. He thought “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” was a great description of an alcoholic family. I told him O’Neill understated what it is like. My great grandfather acted like the father in Karamazov. Buried two wives and had wild parties with prostitutes. He was a complete psychopath who drank himself to death.
So did my mother and older brother. My older brother, who sexually abused me and left him family when he was about to molest his three-year old daughter, drank and partied with prostitutes during his failed college attempts. My mother confided that if she would have done anything with her life she would have been a prostitute. She also sexually abused me and I became hyper-religious like Aloysha. My brother if sober could have become political although I came close to being a violent radical at another time in my life.
And the third brother is a writer. And I am a writer. I think Dostoievsky was a radical at one point in his life. He spend most of his time writing long and short novels. And he was deeply religious so I think he played all the roles as the children of an alcoholic father.
And I suspect writers do exactly the same thing. They are every character in the novel. And it is best when the characters launch themselves and tell the story while the author watches and types.