People never explain to you what they think and feel and how their thoughts and feelings work, do they? They don't have time. Or the right words. But that's what books do. It's as though your daily life is a film in the cinema. It can be fun, looking at those pictures. But if you want to know what lies behind the flat screen you have to read a book. That explains it all.
Even if people in the book are invented?
Sure. Because they're based on what's real but with the boring bits stripped out. In good books anyway. Of my total understanding of human beings, which is perhaps not very great... I'd say half of it is from just guessing that other people must feel much the same as I would in their place. But of the other half, ninety per cent of it has come from reading books. Less than ten per cent from reality--from watching and talking and listening--from living.
A Week in December