At an interview today, a lovely journalist asked me if I read all the time. Answer: I do. I read every day.
But reading isn’t a chore. This isn’t a blog for Puritans, despite the writer’s distaste for fun and compliments.
When I was a kid, I loved the library. I spent hours there. I came home with piles of books. I read them with great pleasure. I love the library in the same way now, except that I can order books ahead of time and find them waiting for me there with my name tag attached. That’s like Christmas in January right there.
Last night my husband and I retired to the parlor after dinner to read books. This is not a euphemism. It was dreamy.
Advice to myself to keep up my reading:
1. Turn off the screen. Keep it down to three shows to follow at a time, tops. Books are more important than shows. Also, no screens at all for at least an hour a night.
2. Only read what I want. No powering through bad or boring writing. There are too many wonderful books out there to waste time with slogs.
3. Carry my Kindle with me. I read lots of indie publishing titles and YA on my Kindle. Keep it with me and read instead of flicking through my phone during wait times at the dentist or wherever.
4. Read with my kids. Kids are wonderful reading companions. I love the feeling of being in a quiet room with people, just reading. I begin the first twenty minute of the week reading with my students, and end every day reading with my daughter.
5. Write reviews and Tweet about authors I love. It’s satisfying to post a Goodreads or Amazon review of a book I love right after finishing. I love doing that. It’s also fun to do a Twitter shoutout to an author I admire after “meeting” that person through a book. Often authors Tweet back. Instant gratification is awesome.
6. Write thank you letters to authors and send them in the mail. Sending an old fashioned note of appreciation to an author via his publisher or agent is fun too, and necessitates reading and enjoying a book first.
7. Pick up a book and move my eyes across the page from left to right. There are so many blog posts about How To Read More. But doesn’t it just boil down to picking up a book and reading it? If anyone needs extra incentive to get into reading, there are many articles about the health benefits of reading. Reading is so fun and such an antidote against the howling abyss that is human existence that I would read even if it wasn’t good for me.
Advice to myself: Turn off the computer and read something.
Make a list of the books that affected your life when you were young. What are your memories surrounding these books? How did they shape your perceptions of the world and yourself?
What are your earliest memories of reading? Was it enjoyable, or a chore? Did you have a hard time learning to read? How does your past with reading inform your attitude towards it today?
Are there activities that other people find difficult, or a chore, that you find quite easy and enjoyable? What are these activities for you, and why is your attitude so different than most?
Write about a time you found someone who loved the same books you did. What was the experience of talking with someone about a shared story? Did you become friends? How do books and a shared love of reading affect your relationships?