Junot Díaz: I think I discovered books as soon as I landed. I think within weeks, I was at school, enrolled, ready to go and within days of being enrolled, we were all taken to the library and given a little tour of the library and, when I saw that tiny room, I think, you know, sometimes there's a click in the universe and, at that moment, there was a click. My life changed. I met my future, in a way, and a part of me knew it. I fell in love with books so profoundly when I was six and that- that love has carried me through to today.
I need to read at least 100 books before I can write a story. I think I might extract a word from each book I read and so or maybe a sentence from each book I read and that's been an interesting journey because, for me, the writing is connected so intrinsically to this immense amount of reading that I do. I read voraciously, omnivorously, compulsively and in some ways, all that reading and that experience of being a reader shapes my writing more than anything.
The only thing that reading can't give you is the world and, for that, there's travel and there's really throwing yourself out there. But reading is a wonderful way to come in contact with other human subjectivities. Nothing communicates the interiority of another human quite like a novel can, or the interiorities of other humans quite like a novel can. Books have always given me that fundamental human experience, which is communion. I feel very strongly, a very strong love and need for communion and novels and fiction give that to me across a space and time. There's no way the internet can compete with a novel for connecting me, you know? I mean, the internet can connect me maybe to someone in Kazakhstan but a novel can connect me to someone in Kazakhstan 200 years ago. Really remarkable stuff, you know? And not just the level of words but to connect at level of spirit, at the level of dreams, at the level of hope, it's really great, man. It's worth the price of admission.