When I was in my twenties and broke, I'd buy books before food. A meal will sustain you for a few hours, a good book will sustain you for life.
Books help to form us. If you cut me open, you will find volume after volume, page after page, the contents of every one I have ever read, somehow transmuted and transformed into me. Alice in Wonderland. the Magic Faraway Tree. The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Book of Job. Bleak House. Wuthering Heights. The Complete Poems of W H Auden. The Tale of Mr Tod. Howard''s End. What a strange person I must be. But if the books I have read have helped to form me, then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exactly the same books, all the same books and only the same books as me. So just as my genes and the soul within me make me uniquely me, so I am the unique sum of the books I have read. I am my literary DNA.
Cakes are like books: There are new ones you want to read and old favorites you want to reread.
I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name 'em. I ate 'em. And then...and then..." The Fire Chief's voice fades. Montag Prompts: "And then?" "Why, life happened to me." The Fire Chief shuts his eyes to remember.
There's always time to read. Don't trust a writer who doesn't read. It's like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn't eat.