I’ll admit it: I used to hate to read. Back in high school, I would skim through books and only read the bold sections in textbooks. It wasn’t until around age 20 that I fell in love with reading. I have a heavy religious background and found my love for reading in theological books. Many of these were people’s journeys, their stories.
But now, as my second book has been published, I find myself wondering if people read anymore. Book sales have been fine, don’t get me wrong, but it amazes me how many people simply do not read. The excuses are endless: no time, too much work, family stuff, etc… The fact is, however, that we make time for what we want to make time for. We make time for those things that we truly care about.
It’s a shame that reading is no longer one of those things for the majority of people. Reading opens up a new world that otherwise would not exist. It allows us to create and explore. It expands our imagination and enables us to escape from reality. How many writers out there have family and friends who have never read their books? I’d guess that the majority of family and friends have not read them.
It’s not because they don’t like you or because they don’t care about what you do. People have forsaken the art of reading. I say art because it is an art. It’s a special gift that we have, one that lights up a child’s face when they discover how to put letters together and make a word. Sadly, many people would rather sit in front of a TV than open up a book. I watch TV, and enjoy it, but nothing compares to a good book.
So, how do we encourage people to start reading again? I’ve got one idea, though I’m not sure it’s the best: buy someone a book. Pick a book that you’ve already enjoyed, one that has stuck with you, and give it to them. A few books I would consider giving to people would be….
Them, by Joyce Carol Oates
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
The Shack, by William P. Young
Indian Killer, by Sherman Alexie
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain