Primed and prepared, I like to put myself into position to experience life from the perspective of someone else's thoughts and ideas. But you see, because I am deeply affected by what I read, I have to carefully choose which books I spend my time in.
There are parts of "Beloved" by Toni Morrison that upset me so much that I ended up in bed with the covers over my head. It helps to balance novels that stir up my grief with books that give me hope and make me laugh. It has taken a while to understand what I need.
I have to level my reading out with comedy, biography, satire, fantasy, mystery, travel books, and fairy tales. A few of my favorites are Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," "The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, and "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, though I still don't understand the meaning of the title to Hurston's book.
What I am trying to say is I have found it important to expose myself to a variety of books from different kinds of writers, because it makes my reading experience richer, fuller, and more interesting.