I am so blessed to know so many readers! In this day and digital age when a plethora of ways exist to spend free time, from social media of all sorts to gaming to watching movies on our iPads, and everything in between, readership in this country has declined.
Book sales are down—not just percentages but numbers of sales—in all forms. While so many folks are downloading e-books, this has had a drastic impact on print books (although they’re now rising, just a hair).
The publishing industry talks a lot about where have all the readers gone. I’ll leave the analysis to them! I’m just ecstatic to personally know so many readers 🙂
And while I’m always just glad people are reading, so many folks are looking for good books (I know because they ask me for suggestions!). And that warms my soul.
We read for so many reasons. Chiefly, to be entertained. But to learn new things whether it be history or politics or what makes us humans tick—all reasons folks tell me.
When I dig down deeper, the answers mostly revolve around the stories of the big why and what and how questions. Why someone would act the way he does. Why she made those decisions. What makes him similar to me, and what makes her different. How can we make this a better world to live in?
Great authors adhere to one creed (okay, so there may be many, but this one sticks out most of all): A writer’s constant standard is to write the truth.
That may sound really funny about scribes of fiction, who are inherently lying for a living! But under the made-up tale, under the fictional characters, that author is weaving his play through a tapestry of what he knows to be, in essence, truth.
Especially in harrowing times (and ours are, no?), we need to tell one another stories. Stories of what makes life meaningful. Stories of who we are and why we are. The ones that sort out the wheat from the chafe. The ones that in times of difficulty in understanding our world, make some sense out of it.
We need to be transported out of a culture where our values aren’t honored, but by immersing ourselves into a fictional world, we can find those who feel the same.
And yep, we need diversion too (reference the NY Times Bestseller list! LOL). But that just comes back to entertainment, which a book must be in the end. Else you’ll quit it.
Equally as important, it must impart something of value to you, or you’ll quit it as well.
But for the ones that touch your soul, you’ll read them more than once.
I am always amazed when I reread a book I loved, and on the second or even the third go-round, passages appear that I swear weren’t there before. Like some little writing elf came in the night and put in a new page. This happens for me all the time, in both fiction and non, and delights me to the core. What a gift that author gave!
And that just means the book is textured and layered in a manner that isn’t immediately apparent.
What I know for true is that we need books. They are our touchstones to the essence of what makes us human.