Back in the day I devoured books of all sorts. If I could grab a list of all the books I borrowed from the library and read as a teenager and young adult there’d be topics covering the KGB to Hare Krishna, Harlequin Mills & Boon to New York Times bestsellers and much more. There wasn’t a topic I didn’t hesitate to read about fiction or non fiction.
Now getting through a book is a challenge. I still read but not like I used to. I scan. And it’s frustrating the hell out of me. What’s happened to the avid reader I once was?
Technology happened. Rush hour happened. Information overload happened.
With the rise in blogs, online news and ebooks, instead of reading we scan for information we need or want and move on. Sitting down with a glass of wine, your feet up, covered by a warm plush blanket and reading every word of the latest Stephen King hardback novel is no longer as simple as it seems. You’re probably more likely to download it to your Kindle and quickly read during your commute to work.
I still borrow dozens of books from the library each month on top of the few I purchase and the ones already on my bookshelf waiting to be loved and cherished and utilised. The difference is that they wait patiently collecting dust and half the time get returned without having been opened. The ones that were opened were only started, a few chapters scanned and returned to the shelf to be enjoyed by someone else.
One of the items on my bucket list are to read the top 100 books to read in a lifetime by Amazon and to read 100 books in 2014. I’m way behind on that goal. I’ve read about 13 books so far and half read a dozen others that don’t count towards the list.
It’s time to go slow. Bring back the joy of reading a good book, taking in each word, sentence and paragraph instead of just focusing on the dialogue, then gently turning each page until the book is finished and remembering what was actually read.
To be a good writer one must first be a good reader, a voracious reader. So tonight instead of turning on the telly (there’s nothing worth watching anyway), I’m going to grab a book, pour myself a glass of Fifth Leg Cabernet Sauvignon, snuggle under my plush blanket, and read.