“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” ― Ray Bradbury
At some point in my life, probably around when I left for college, I stopped being A Reader. It was slow, and crept up on me, and now, when I look backwards, I realize I haven’t read many books in the past few years. “I never have the time”, I say, as I scroll endlessly through social media. 2016 has been especially tumultuous, starting a new job, moving, settling in, trying to figure out who I am in my new role. I’ve picked up a few books here and there, but they were all professional, and I’m not sure I finished one of them.
When I was a kid, I’d read for HOURS. I was always reading something. I re-read the Lord of the Rings series every summer from the 7th grade until college. I devoured worlds. I learned so much about brilliance, compassion, exploration, history, humor… everything.
A few months ago, I saw an email about a book discussion being formed on campus to read and discuss Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I jumped at the chance, and the two discussions that followed were amazing. Raw. Powerful. Enlightening. Heartbreaking. And it woke up something I had buried. My love for reading.
Reading feels like a lost and forgotten friend. I need to nourish it back to health. So 2017 – here’s your chance. There’s a book club at work, and I’m going to join come January. I’m going to join the Goodreads book challenge and read at least 25 books in 2017.
I’ve also subscribed to the New York Times online and plan on at least skimming that every day; I firmly believe in paying for my news, and that reading the NYT will help me keep informed better than scrolling through Facebook or listening to the talking heads on television.
And I’m going to pull back from social media. I am thinking of uninstalling it on my phone. No more zombie-esque, mindless scrolling. I’m ready for remembering myself, the Reader.