I recently saw a study that said the average American only reads 12 books a year. As a part of the Booklr community, that’s completely absurd. I’m pretty sure that every one of us can read 12 books in a week.
My first reaction was to feel disappointment in the fact that Americans don’t appreciate books as much as I do. I was embarrassed on behalf of America because we’d rather watch TV or be on our phones than sit down and read a book. I was upset because people in America don’t understand the kind of happiness reading books gives me.
However, I took a step back and realized that most people aren’t like me. Not being interested in reading isn’t a fault, but a preference. Perhaps they only read the widely promoted novel everyone was waiting for. Perhaps they enjoy reading Tom Clancy books in between the hours that their kids are awake. I’m not the one to judge them for reading. I should be happy books are being read at all.
Reading books at the level the booklr community reads is a commitment. If you want to read more than what you can average, then you have to dedicate more of your time and energy into reading. As a self-proclaimed slow reader, I have to give up watching another episode of Friends on Netflix in order for me to finish up a 900-page novel within a two-week period. It’s tough for me and I get that that’s not something everyone wants.
But every once in a while, you’ll come across something unexpected from a book. It’ll drag you into its cage like a wild tiger and make you say things you never thought you would say. Take Joey from Friends as a good example:
Everyone knows that Joey isn’t a scholar and hasn’t read as many books as the average American. But, when he reads, he really reads. In this scene from Friends, he and Rachel swap books. She would read The Shining by Stephen King because it’s one of Joey’s favorite books. Joey would subsequently read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott because it’s Rachel’s favorite.
Throughout the episode, you see them update each other on their progress. On Rachel’s side, you don’t really see much involvement in the book. However, you see Joey get extremely upset about some of the spoilers Rachel provided especially the fact that Beth eventually dies (if you haven’t read Little Women by now, then I suggest you read it and know that BETH DIES).
That kind of deep emotion and involvement in fictional characters is what compels me to continue reading and be obsessed with books. I completely understand the fact that kind of involvement isn’t something can feel all the time, but this is what results in people loving certain books.
Perhaps you are the 12-books-a-year reader that this article suggests. That’s cool! Even if you read one book this year, I think that’s an achievement. However, I would pose the question, did you slip down the rabbit hole while you read?
As an advocate of books, I will say that books really do what all the famous quotes say. They are portable magic. They do send you away to a different place. They do give your mind freedom to imagine and create (and maybe you fantasize a little bit that that’s you as the main character). I love books. I love books so much that I read more than 12 books a year and that’s fine with me. I will always try to encourage you to read even more, but hey, if it’s not your thing, then it’s not your thing. If you can commit to anything, commit to falling in love with one book.
One thought on “Committing to Books”
I like the encouragement .. I’ve noticed since I got a Kindle I both read less and read less serious books. In fact I have been thinking about it lately – right up through grad school, before the last internet boom of 2005, I was able to concentrate on pretty serious books all the time. It’s true that the world of the internet, that you can dive into so easily for entertainment and connection to other people is .. distracting. I used to feel this sense of “omg how will I finish all the classics before I die” and post smart phone era it was more like” eh, if I get to it I get to it “. Anyway that is wrong and a loss of something important – time to slow it down and get back to the print!