Books changed my life. If I hadn’t read Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun when I was 16, I wouldn’t have gone to work in Oslo after finishing school. And if I hadn’t read Milan Kundera and other Czech writers just before the collapse of communism I wouldn’t have headed to teach English in Prague after university. Both were formative experiences for me and taught me more about life than any academic courses.
Books not only educated, inspired and entertained me. They opened up new horizons, fed my curiosity and sparked a desire to travel more, learn more and experience more. Without a love of books I would, quite simply, never have become a journalist.
When I made this point to a recent group of journalist students, one of them asked me to send a list of books I would recommend reading over the summer. This is the result. Not all the books are the work of journalists and they are certainly not all about journalism. But I am convinced that reading just some of these works will not only make you better writers but more-rounded human beings. Happy reading!