I hate to be recommended books - to be strongly recommended I read a book often means I never get to read it.
Or, to be more accurate, I want to read what I want to read, as and when - and in the order - that I feel moved to read.
There was the famous Tarka the Otter incident when I was compelled by a school teacher to read this volume instead of my customary Biggles - I had to force myself through one page at a time, on a schedule.
When I audited courses during my MA (by thesis) in English, it was a kind of torture to follow the prescribed reading; whenever I tried to join a book club it seemed almost an intolerable imposition to have to read something that somebody else had chosen.
And it was a traumatic experience when, aged 18, I agreed to read a whole clutch of books recommended by my best friend.
Thus, I always have a stirring of sympathy about characters such as Samuel Johnson and Ralph Waldo Emerson who had similarly unsystematic habits.
I suspect that this disposition is evidence of high trait Psychoticism
and probably, therefore, indicative of the most fundamental human characteristic - and it is a marker of creativity on the one hand; and impulsiveness, wilfulness, egotism, unemployability and general recalcitrant troublesomeness on the other.