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Following on my last post, I agree with Neil Gaiman that libraries are of vital importance to our society. Like many readers, I grew up in a library, basically, quickly graduating from the kids’ section to the adult books. I remember systematically reading my way through every Agatha Christie (she wrote something like 85 of them). For a kid like me, the library was my refuge.
Libraries are frequent targets for budget cuts by government officials who don’t understand the vital link between reading and developing minds that can think, imagine, and innovate. Many children don’t have access to books and computers in their homes, and libraries are the only place where they can foster a love of reading. That’s why it’s vitally important for those of us who love books and reading, and who understand just how important they are, to support our local libraries as much as we possibly can. A good way to start is by joining the library’s Friends group. Take part in library activities. Support events featuring writers or aimed at improving children’s reading experiences. I recently joined the Board of our Friends of the Library group, and it has been a wonderfully enriching experience for me as I take part in supporting library programs and our local literary scene.
Books and reading are my primary passion in life. Even though almost everything I read now is on the Kindle, I believe the need for strong libraries is greater than ever. Libraries are the repositories for our culture, the archives of our rich wealth of information, and increasingly, librarians are the experts who help us navigate it all. Libraries create future readers, and they in turn become the thinkers and innovators that make our civilization strong. What could be more important?
“I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.”
This was actually published in 2013, based on a lecture Gaiman gave to the Reading Agency, but it so wonderfully expresses why reading, and especially reading fiction, is absolutely critical for the future of our society and why we all need to support libraries as much as we can, that it bears reading and rereading and constant reinforcing: Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming | Books | The Guardian.
Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman’s latest collection of short fiction and poetry, is recommended for readers who love creepy stories, fairy tales and well-written fan fiction. Read my full review on my book review blog, Books Worth Reading.
PS Thanks to my friend Samantha Bryant for giving me a copy of this book. Samantha has a new book out: Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel. Check it out!
Why ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore – NYTimes.com, a really interesting essay by food writer Michael Pollan on the meaning of the word natural.
I have cleaned up and reopened my book review blog: Books Worth Reading. I think it’s looking very nice. Over there, I strictly publish book reviews of mostly recent fiction, some nonfiction and a few of what I deem to be “modern classics.” My goal is to aid book discovery, and I will recommend books based on specific titles or interests when asked. There will be some cross-posting between here and there, but if you love books, go check it out.
First, it was slow food, then slow blogging — now slow reading is the latest watchword. In our fast-paced world, movements designed to get us to slow down and really experience what we are doing always have my support.
Here’s a great way to practice slow reading: start a book journal. Whether it’s a notebook or a blog or an online tool like LibraryThing, journaling every book you read forces you to slow down and really think about what you’ve read. For me, my journals — which I started keeping in 2001 — have made me more thoughtful about what I’ve read and helped me form connections I might not otherwise have made. Since I started journaling my reading, I’ve chosen better books to read and integrated my reading more meaningfully into my own writing and my life in general.
I still keep a paper journal in which I write the title, author and publication date of each book I finish or abandon, my initial impressions of the book, and the date I finished it or abandoned it. For books I really like or that spawned a lot of initial thoughts, I write a second, more polished draft of the review and post it here or on LibraryThing.
How do you journal your reading and how has your journal benefited your reading?