The Biweekly Book Reader, Part 1

When was the last time you read a book – a complete book – word for word?

For me, it was this past Saturday. But before that? Ask me when I’d read a full book and I would have had a very puzzled, contemplative look as I tried to remember. Oh sure, I’d skimmed books here and there…read a few chapters into Scott Stratten’s Unmarketing, leafed through Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and absorbed the necessary sections of my psychology textbook…but no complete books. And as the new year approached, I had a strong sense that I wanted that to change.

The Bookworm

Growing up, books were my friends. A true bookworm, I would come home with stacks of books from the library and bargain with thrift store managers for deals on children’s picture books to read to my younger siblings or those I babysat. I became the family librarian and helped to catalog our fairly vast book collection using Readerware software. I took pride in knowing where certain books were located and finding the appropriate people to lend them to. And I always knew someday I wanted one room of my house, at least, to be devoted to books, comfortable seating, and stimulating discussion, with perhaps some coffee, biscotti, and a fireplace in the corner.

But as time went on, I became busy. I increasingly spent time on the family computer, and then later, my own. I learned to drive and had more events and social activities to go to, more challenging classes and homework to add to my schedule, and seemingly far more time to chat away on the computer or even read important articles on politics and privacy and public relations online than I had time to read books on those same topics, much less the fiction titles that once carried me away to other worlds and times in my imagination.

And Then I Went to Starbucks

The weeks leading up to my decision to become a biweekly book reader brought some unique sources of motivation. My desire and intent to “read more” in the coming year was equally as vague as it was strong. Somewhere in the back of my mind I faintly remembered a statistic I’d heard quoted about how many (most?) millionaires read at least a book a month and that they attributed their success, in part, to that practice. But I also knew based on previous experience that I’d be tempted to set an entirely magnificent, but quite unattainable, goal for myself –  maybe reading a book a day, or at least one a week.

Then one day, I decided to walk with some friends to the local Starbucks. On the way in we met Jake, one of the baristas, on his way out. He had his usual smile, a full beard, and tucked under one arm of his trench coat he was carrying a thick black paperback book. My curiosity was piqued, and my first thought was classy. It’s not everyone who walks around with a book anymore (although I certainly used to do so), and I thought, “you know, I really should carry a book around with me too.” While I was sipping my Toffee Nut Mocha, he came back in from his break, so I took the opportunity to ask him what the book was. It was winter break, so it wasn’t a textbook, but I really wasn’t sure what else it would be. It turned out to be a collection of poetry by Robinson Jeffers. Again, classy.

But it would take more than Starbucks to get me reading again…my inspiration would end up coming from a world of hashtags, links and succinct posts made up of 140 characters. The world of Twitter. Continued in Part 2…


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 4:48 am and is filed under Relevant Reading. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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