A profound connection with an imaginary world

Serious readers, [Shirley Brice] Heath tells [Jonathan Franzen], come in two flavors: either their parents modeled serious reading for them as children, or, far less commonly, they were “social isolates” who found in books a profound connection with an imaginary world that supplanted a daily environment in which they felt they had no place. The latter description, apparently, fits Franzen to a T, and he is relieved to hear Heath tell him that readers who came to books to cure their social isolation are more likely than other kinds of readers to become writers. Soon afterward, his writer’s block is cured and his stalled third novel begins to click along.

Michael Bourne,
discussing Franzen’s 1996 essay, “Perchance to Dream

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