How wonderful it is that so many people from all walks of life enjoy the delights of books. And how sad it is that others don’t.
Those of us who know the the joys and rewards of reading are the lucky ones. How can we help others find these joys and rewards? And how rewarding it would be to do so!
I think that one of the ‘blocks’ for non-readers is that they see reading as an ‘egg-head’ activity. This perception could perhaps be altered if they were aware of of the enormously wide range of people who enjoy reading .
I’ll give a few examples of keen readers from various walks of life, you will already have an idea from the title of this post. But first let’s look at the words and phrases that are often used by readers to describe what they gain from reading. Of course there are ‘relaxation’ and ‘stress relief’ – we can all identify with those. And then there are ‘opened my eyes’, ‘made me aware’, ‘laughter’, ‘beauty’, ‘moved me to tears’ and ‘a window into another world’. Perhaps I might be allowed to quote myself, ‘That is the timeless power of books, to present ideas and emotions, to set our brains and our feelings in motion, to change our lives!’
So, who reads books? Certainly all sorts of people we see on trains and buses – the can’t all be ‘egg-heads! Julie Corletto, Australian netball representative loves reading and says, ‘The books that changed my life are all biographies. The give you a window into someone else’s life.’
Joy McKean recently talked to The Sun-Herald about books. She is the widow of Country Music legend Slim Dusty and a respected performer in her own right. She talked about Ruth Park’s ‘Harp In The South’ saying, ‘It made me aware….about a rich teeming life I knew nothing about.’ Of Ruth Barbery’s ‘Elegance of The Hedgehog’ she said, ‘The elegance of the writing brought me into a close association with the characters.’ Joy first read Georgette Heyer’s Regency Romance novels as ‘stress relievers’ but the historical detail in them drew her into an interest in the history of the times.
Comedian Claire hooper says of Haruki Murakami’s ‘The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’, ‘…….kept me reading when I was meant to be sleeping.’ Which is very much the opposite of most late night television!
Here’s another great quote. ‘Here’s this dead guy from the other side of the world and he’s really made me feel something.’ That’s from a Year 6 boy in Fiji after reading ‘Lord of The Flies’. That year 6 boy is now Australian author James Roy!
Perhaps you are a good example of a ‘non egg-head’ who loves reading. I think I am. As a young man I was a train hard, play harder competitive sportsman but I still read lots of books. As a bookseller of nearly43 years standing I am just as happy talking about sport (tennis, Rugby League, cricket, netball soccer, basketball, athletics, you name it) as I am about books. Books ARE for everyone!
Perhaps we booklovers can encourage the non-readers we know into the rewarding world of books by talking about the wide range of people who already enjoy ‘discovering’ and ‘stress relieving’. We could change their lives!