Henry Miller’s Childhood Reading

Henry Miller

Henry Miller is a good example of how childhood reading has a powerful effect on the kind, and style, of work writers produce as adults. (Image: public domain.)

I enjoy comparing my own adventures among books with those of famous authors. All writers, whether they are well known, obscure, or as yet unpublished seem to have a lot in common. However, there are exceptions. Henry Miller, author of oft-banned books such as Tropic of Cancer, seems to be one of them.

In The Books in My Life, Miller describes his vivid memories of books read during his childhood. He has astonishingly clear recollections of covers, illustrations, historical eras, famous people, even where he first encountered certain words. Looking carefully at that list of recollections, I decided he must have been a heavy reader of non-fiction. It struck me how much Miller’s rememberings differ from my own memories of youthful encounters with books.

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