Do you have to be a voracious reader to be a splendid writer? Some might argue that consuming mass quantities of the written word is the only way to a successful career as a master of it.
In his 16-year career as a novelist, Junot Diaz has only written two novels and one collection of short stories. In a recent interview with the New York Times, he confesses why it takes him so long to produce new material and where he gets the inspiration from. He also talks about his “one superpower”—reading.
On coming up with his collection of short stories, This Is How You Lose Her:
That’s why I never want to do this again. It’s like you spend 16 years chefing in the kitchen, and all that’s left is an amuse-bouche.
On his one “superpower”:
I read a book a week, man. And I don’t have a great memory, but I have a good memory about what I read.
On whether he’ll ever be able to pick up the pace when it comes to producing material:
The thing is, you try your best, and what else you got? You try your best, really, that’s all you can do. And for me, my best happens really so rarely. I was so always heartened by people like Michael Chabon who write so well and seem to write so fast. Edwidge Danticat writes really well and really fast. I was always heartened by them. I keep thinking one day it’ll happen. It might.