In less than thirty days I have attended group discussions, had one on one conversations, exchanged tweets, emailed, blogged and sent text messages about bookish related topics. After walking away completely and utterly gob-smacked by some of these discussions, from statements like “Kids tell me they hate reading” or “Is the library really necessary anymore?” and finding articles like this one http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-literacy-america with alarming statistics about literacy in America, I had to stop and ask myself if I was doing my part as a responsible book lover and avid reader.
Anyone who knows me can probably tell you how often I talk about books, reading and writing. How I am always carting my kids off to the library two, three, five times a week. They can probably tell you I can quote The Perks Of Being A Wallflower from start to finish and that I have strong feelings about book to movie adaptations. But most of these same people can also quote lines for you from their own favorites, tell you their own strong feelings about what was missing from the Hunger Games movie and give you the names of their dream cast for their favorite book should it be turned into a film. Because they are book people too.
That’s not really solving anything is it?
If we eat the most amazing meal on a night out with friends, we aren’t going to turn to those same friends at the office Monday morning and say “I had the most amazing meal at Café Le YumYum on Friday.” THEY KNOW ALREADY.
So, while talking bookish things with bookish people is fun and rewarding and fills up your bucket of good book feels; the non-reading, or minimal reading people are still out of the circle. What am I going to do as a responsible book lover to invite them in?
I’m going to start by giving the gift of a good read. I’m not going to just give Sally Mcnonreader a book for her to put on a shelf with all the good intentions. Nope, no good. I’m going to give her one of my favorites, with little sticky notes on my favorite pages that contain quotes that matter to me. I’m going to let her know that I’m interested in discussing her thoughts on the book once she’s finished and it’s totally cool if she hated it and I would love for her to tell me why and how she thinks it could be better.
Next I’m going to invite a self-professed non-reader to one of my happy places, the library. It hurts my heart to know people think libraries are a thing of the past. I want to invite someone because I KNOW they will at the very least meet some kickass librarians and see that it’s a place of opportunity. Not just stale old books, but technology, resources, friendly faces and new books! Even if they don’t gain much from it maybe they will have a grandchild, niece, nephew or someone else that they can tell “Hey, I was just at the library and discovered they have great programs for kids, teens AND adults.”
This is my plan for now, because it’s not enough to pass on information to people in our lives anymore, they are overloaded with information, we need to engage and involve.
If you have any ideas for how to be a responsible book lover I would love to hear/read about them!