“So many books, so little time.” Frank Zappa’s famous quote is how most bibliophiles think about books and reading.
As far back as I can remember, I have loved to read. It is so much easier to read when you’re younger and you do not have to put down a good book to do mundane things like cooking, cleaning, and shopping for groceries. People think that those who work at a library or a bookstore get to read all they want, all the time. Sadly, that is not true. Library workers can only read during breaks, not while they are working. It’s really not good customer service when the person at the public desk is absorbed in a good book, oblivious of the people approaching to ask for help!
If you think you have fallen off the wagon when it comes to reading and if you want to step up your reading game, here are six resolutions/suggestions for your consideration:
1) Join a Book Club
“What's the point of having a book club if you don't get to eat brownies and drink wine?”
This quote by Jami Attenberg should be motivation enough for joining a book club! Along with eating and drinking you also get to discuss books with people. It’s interesting to see how each person interprets a book differently and the animated discussions which follow based on how you relate to the book. Book clubs are to readers what Weight Watchers is to people trying to lose weight. It holds members accountable to meet the deadline.
You can also start an online book club as a Facebook group or on What’s app. Book clubs are a bonding experience as folks end up sharing their own unique life stories and perspectives while explaining how they reacted to certain incidents in a novel.
2) Read Different Genres
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
This quote by Haruki Murakami elucidates that we need diversity in reading. Go out of your comfort zone, mix it up, read a genre you would not usually attempt. There is so much to choose from, Romance, Mystery, Biographies, Multicultural fiction, Historical nonfiction, Self-help books, Fantasy fiction, True crime, Cookbooks and so much more. Richland Library’s #BroaderBookshelf challenge is a great way to get started. Do also check out our Blind Date With a Book initiative. We have books gift wrapped on display with a short description about their content. A reader can browse through these books and check one out and take the book home without knowing the title. Take a leap of faith!
3) Ask Your Friends and Co-workers What They Are Reading
“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote reminds me of how interesting it is to know what other people are reading. Instead of talking about the weather, we should ask people what they are reading. I have got great ideas from my friends and coworkers about what to read next. Recently, my friend Don, a security worker at the library stopped by to chat with me at the desk and he told me that his favorite author was John le Carré, a British author of espionage novels. I googled the author and found him and a review of his works fascinating. John le Carré also has an avid fan following and one of his books will be my next read.
4) Buy More Books
“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.”
Dr Seuss got it right! Books make your house a home. Put yourself first, if you love books, its okay to buy them once in a while, specially the titles which are dear to you. Austin Phelps has said “Wear the old coat and buy the new book.” Also, shop for great deals from book sales, second hand book stores and Amazon.
5) Substitute Screen Time With Reading Books
"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall."
Roald Dahl’s quote reminds me of my childhood before the onslaught of TV and electronics. All we did was play outside and read. Those were the good old days. Recently, my phone alerted me with the average screen time I had used every day. It was a little bit more than three hours per day and most of it was browsing through the Internet and social media. I really did not realize I was spending this much time on my phone until I got the notification. One of my resolutions for the new year is to cut back on at least an hour of screen time everyday and replace it with reading.
6) Give Books as Gifts
"A book is a gift you can open again and again."
Garrison Keillor has rightly said that a book is a gift which keeps on giving. I always gave my children books as gifts and they are voracious readers. It is heartwarming that now as teenagers, they buy books as presents for me and the thought they put into buying what I would like to read is so endearing. The good thing about buying books for your family is that you can read them too! Recently, I bought a book of Hindi short stories by Premchand for my mom who is visiting us and it was a joyful experience rereading this collection which I had read previously in my teens.
Here's hoping 2019 will be a great year for book lovers and as I embark upon this journey of reading, I am reminded of Jhumpa Lahiri's quote "That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet."
Happy reading to all of you!
A couple of useful links which will be helpful to readers: