You know what I learned in college? Not much. I got the world’s most useless degree. Math. After I graduated, I looked at a proof I’d done – a three page explosion of Greek letters, squiggly lines, arrows, and equal signs. After just three months it had already become an incomprehensible foreign language.
Still, it beat not having a degree. A degree is like wearing an expensive suit. Same person, just more confident.
The degree got me a job, but my confidence quickly wore off. I felt dumb. I had none of the basic literary reference points a college education should have provided. So I started reading. Every day I read for two hours on the bus. Once home, I read for another hour. Before bed, I read one more hour. This went on for a couple of years, until one day, I felt literate. Good enough. I didn’t feel dumb anymore.
Some literary conclusions: Dostoyevsky painted grand literary landscapes. Hemmingway wrote like a 6th grader, but ripped your heart completely out of your chest. Nabokov was a perv. Manzoni wrote the ultimate historical novel. Thomas Hardy knew how to make you cry for days. James Joyce was an idiot. Dickens wrote the same story 20 times, but it was a good story…