I picked up reading pretty quickly. I got good at it, then put it to one side. It was a skill I had acquired so why did I need to practice it? It sounds a bit odd but I can’t think of a better explanation for the fact that I didn’t read more than the bare minimum until my middle teens.
The book that changed things was Clive James’ Unreliable Memoirs, and it was as much the audiobook version as the paperback. In exploring his own reader journey through his university days, James made writers I’d never heard of – ee cummings, Ezra Pound, HL Mencken – sound like Olympian gods.
It defined my reading habits for the next decade and ensured that books would be my constant companion after that initial childhood indifference.