"there is a time in a reader's life when books are inhaled and absorbed into the body. they become the body of who you are. between the ages of 17 and 22, I gulped down writers. I read them fast and whole, something like a snake swallowing its prey, and I read everything they wrote, 1 book after another, trying to steal their souls or, more nicely, become who they were. starting with 19th century literature, I read ralph waldo emerson, henry david thoreau, and walt whitman. particularly, I read whitman, in love with the physical world and finding divinity everywhere, for whom 'a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels' and a gnat sufficient explanation. I could as easily have read william wordsworth or alfred tennyson."
--from standing in the light: my life as a pantheist by sharman apt russell
I could as easily have written this, having done exactly the same and at the same time of my life. except the authors I would have named are maxwell grant, kenneth robeson (/paul ernst), fritz leiber, terrance dicks and malcolm hulke, don pendleton, h.p. lovecraft, and the multiple authors of the weird heroes series. the only writer whose work I read at that time who has joined the canon is kurt vonnegut, and I stopped reading him when he stopped getting weird (also when jerry lewis made a movie of one of his novels; that was simply too much.)